Crescent Kashmir

Friday prayers remain suspended in Jamia Masjid, Hazratbal, others shrines in Kashmir

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Friday prayers remained suspended for the seventh 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 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 seventh 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 an 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. The limit was 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 seventh 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 have accused administration of adopting ‘dual policy’ when it comes to restrictions imposed to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “On one hand authorities have 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 locals said.

They said that 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.


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