Government criticised for 'ignoring' Diwali while announcing lockdown to 'save Christmas'

On Saturday, the government held a press conference (complete with an awkward slide show) and announced a four-week nationwide lockdown in England.

With data indicating that coronavirus cases are rapidly increasing again, people are being advised to stay indoors, and all non-essential shops will close.

Boris Johnson didn’t call it a lockdown... but that’s basically what it is.

But while the prime minister stressed that the lockdown was necessary to “save Christmas”. But people noticed that there was no mention of Diwali, which is effectively cancelled due to the new restrictions.

For those unfamiliar, Diwali is a five-day festival of lights celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs. Typically, homes are decorated with lights, gifts are exchanged, and firework displays commemorate the occasion.

Though the festival has different meanings depending on the religion, the core principle is the celebration of light triumphing over darkness.

This year, Diwali was set to begin on 12 November, with the main day of celebrations set for 14 November.

Hindus and Sikhs all over the country have been affected by the news. There are over 800,000 Hindus and 400,000 Sikhs, according to figures from the Religion Media Centre and the UK parliament, respectively.

So when the prime minister announced a new lockdown, Hindus and Sikhs across the country had one question.

Many people of all faiths are calling out the government for their ignorance in prioritising Christmas.

Some mentioned the fact that Eid was cancelled earlier this year with less than 12 hours notice.

Lockdown rules in July were announced the day before Eid, affecting hundreds of thousands of British Muslims.

People said only just underlines how the government treats people from minority communities as “disposable”.

It's still not clear what the restrictions will be in England on Christmas day, with senior cabinet ministers warning that lockdown may continue beyond 2 December.

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