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COVID: No Friday prayers in Jamia Masjid, Hazratbal, others shrines in Kashmir

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 Friday prayers remained suspended for the eighth successive week at historic Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar, 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 of 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 eighth 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. The AAJM demanded immediate lifting of ban on the prayers in the Masjid.

Friday prayers resumed at Jamia Masjid on August 6 after remaining suspended for more than three months to prevent spread of COVID 19. However, after an order that only 25 persons are allowed to attend any indoor or outdoor function in Jammu and Kashmir, the mosque was again closed on August 13 for Friday prayers. The limit was however, last week increased to 50 for vaccinated persons in case the positive rate of the district is below 0.2 and weekly case load is below 250.

Congregational prayers were also not allowed for the 8th 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.

Meanwhile, locals questioned the logic behind closing worship places to prevent spread of corona virus when tourists resort are open and the administration and political parties are holding functions, sports tournaments and other melas in the valley.

They said if the government was concerned that COVID-19 could spread after opening of worship places, it should also stop holding functions with large gatherings. “The virus doesn’t discriminate… If you go to any tourist resort in week days or weekends, you will see most of the people roaming around without wearing masks and maintaining social distancing,” they added.

There will be no special night-long prayers at the shrine of Hazrat Mehboob-ul-Aalam Sheikh Makhdoom Sahib, where annual urs is being celebrated on Saturday. No Friday prayers were allowed today and there will be no prayers tomorrow also, the administration has informed the shrine management. However, people, including women, were seen paying obeisance at the shrine since early this morning.


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