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No Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid, Hazratbal, other shrines in Kashmir

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Friday prayers remained suspended for the sixth successive week at historic Jamia Masjid in the downtown, Assar-e-Shareif Hazratbal and others major shrines in Kashmir valley to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

However, prayers were held in other mosques and worship places in the valley.

All gates leading to Jamia Masjid remained closed and people were not allowed to enter the worship place, where famous Jamia market was open. “No Friday prayers were held for the sixth successive week in the historic Masjid,” said Anjuman Auqaf Jamia Masjid (AAJM), headed by moderate Hurriyat Conference (HC) chairman Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq, who is under house arrest since August 5, 2019.

Friday prayers were resumed at Jamia Masjid on August 6 after remaining suspended for more than three months to prevent spread of COVID 19. However, after a fresh order asserting that only 25 persons are allowed to attend any function in Jammu and Kashmir, the mosque was again closed on August 13 for Friday prayers.

Congregational prayers were also not allowed for the sixth successive week at Hazratbal shrine, which houses the Holy Relic of Prophet Muhammad. Similarly, Friday prayers were also not held in other major worship places, including at the shrine of Hazrat Goulsul Azam Dastigeer in Khanyar and Hazrat Mehboob-ul-Aalam. However, prayers were held at Khankahi Moula , where health department officials were vaccinating people.

Meanwhile, people criticized the authorities for  adopting ‘dual policy’. They alleged that on one hand it has closed worship places while on the other hand, tourist resorts are open and the administration and political parties are holding functions, Sports tournaments and other melas in the valley. The government has recently reopened schools for 10th and 12th classes and only vaccinated students and staff are allowed to attend classes.

“If the government is concerned that COVID-19 could spread after opening of worship places,  it should also stop holding functions with large gatherings as they too can lead to spread of the virus,” alleged people. ”If you go to any tourist resort in week days or weekends, you will see most of the people roaming around without adhering to any COVID guidelines,” they added.


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