Friday prayers not allowed in Jamia Masjid, Hazratbal, other shrines in Kashmir
Friday prayers remained suspended for the second successive week at historic Jamia Masjid in the downtown, Assar-e-Shareif Hazratbal and some other famous shrines in Kashmir valley to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
However, prayers were allowed in local mosques, where people offered ‘Friday namaz’ amid strict COVID guidelines, including maintaining social distance and wearing masks.
All gates leading to Jamia Masjid remained closed and people were not allowed to enter the worship place, while security forces were deployed in strength to prevent assembly of people in or around the historic mosque. “No Friday prayers were held for the second 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, following a fresh order asserting that only 25 persons are allowed to attend any function in Jammu and Kashmir, the mosque was again closed last week for Friday prayers.
Congregational prayers were also not allowed for the second successive week at Hazratbal shrine, which houses the Holy Relic of Prophet Muhammad. Devotees had started to gather for Friday prayers since morning in the shrine, but the gates of the shrine were suddenly closed at around 1100 hrs and people were directed to leave.
“We have reached Hazratbal shrine in the morning from Budgam district to offer Friday prayers. But suddenly police closed the gates and asked people inside the shrine to leave at once,” Ghulam Mohammad, a retired government employee, told UNI.
Friday prayers also not held in some other major worship places, including at the shrine of Hazrat Goulsul Azam Dastigeer Khanyar. But, people participated in congregational Friday prayers in other mosques and worship places.