Located 380km from Mumbai, the Ichalkaranji town of Maharashtra celebrated Eid 2020 is true spirit of peace and brotherhood as the Muslim community there donated Rs 36 lakh collected as Zakaat this Ramadana, to fund a 10-bed ICU at a local hospital. As the third pillar of Islam, Zakaat makes it obligatory for Muslims to give 2.5% of their annual savings in charity. Also Read - COVID-19 Cases in India See Biggest Jump of Nearly 25,000; Total Tally Rises Above 7.6 Lakh | Key Points

Ichalkaranji town bears a population of three lakh out of which Muslims comprise of 15%. Since patients needing ICU facility were earlier sent to towns like Kolhapur and Solapur, a Muslim organisation in Ichalkaranji, Samast Muslim Samaj (SMS), decided to fund a 10-bed ICU facility at the town’s only government hospital during the holy month of Ramadan. Also Read - Maharashtra COVID Tally: 6603 Fresh Cases, 198 Deaths in 24 Hours; Total Infections at 223724

Inaugurating the ICU section of Indira Gandhi Memorial (IGM) Civil Hospital on Eid this year, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray lauded the community’s efforts. Addressing them through a video conference, Thackeray said, “Muslims in Ichalkaranji have shown the way for everyone in the country. The Muslim community has set an example on how to celebrate a festival.” Also Read - Unlock 2: After Hotels, Maharashtra Govt Now Plans to Open Restaurants, Gymnasiums Soon

In an interview with TOI, Dr Javed Bagwan, a surgeon associated with IGM Civil Hospital shared, “This is a great gesture by the Muslims of this town. I don’t think anywhere else in India Muslims of an entire town have used the Zakaat money to fund such a facility in critical care. This will help us fight the coronavirus.”

As per the latest reports, Maharashtra remains the worst-affected state by coronavirus pandemic. Over 2,500 people tested positive for the disease on Thursday, contributing towards the highest number of new cases. 59,546 people in Maharashtra have so far contracted COVID-19 while the death toll in the state rose to 1,982.

Not only is Maharashtra burdened with the responsibility of checking the COVID-19 crisis, being the worst-hit in the country, but also countering the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is seeking to corner the government over the pandemic. Recently, Mumbai Police Commissionerate issued a new gag order, along with regulations on social media usage, that prohibits people from speaking against the state government’s functioning amid COVID-19 times.