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New York Prisoners Sue for Solar Eclipse Viewing

 

Ahead of April 8th's solar eclipse, certain US prisons are preparing for a lockdown to navigate the expected darkness. The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has announced plans to close down 23 facilities during the eclipse, ranging from approximately one and a half to three and a half minutes of total darkness. These facilities will prohibit visitations throughout the day, while others not directly in the eclipse's path will end visitations early at 2 pm.

However, this decision has stirred discontent among inmates. A report by The Independent reveals that inmates are taking legal action against the state corrections department over the planned lockdown. The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in New York, argues that the lockdown violates inmates' constitutional rights to practice their religious beliefs by depriving them of participation in a spiritually significant event.

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The lawsuit, brought forth by six inmates representing various religious backgrounds, asserts that the solar eclipse holds immense religious importance to many individuals. They contend that such a rare natural phenomenon warrants gathering, celebration, worship, and prayer.

The legal action follows prison officials' refusal to grant permission for inmates to view the eclipse, citing it as a non-holy day. The inmates argue that their desire to observe the eclipse is not merely about its astronomical rarity but also its deep-rooted religious significance.

The total solar eclipse on April 8th is anticipated to be a major astronomical event of the year, traversing North America, including parts of Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Although Indians will not be able to witness this particular eclipse, the scientific community recognizes its exceptional rarity.

The dispute between prison authorities and inmates underscores broader issues regarding inmates' rights and religious freedoms within the prison system.

April 2, 2024 6:03 p.m. 13987

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