Main Mosques, Shrines Remain Closed for Friday Prayers

Srinagar: The Friday prayers were once again disallowed at Grand Mosque and major shrines falling under the supervision of Wakf Board in Srinagar district.

The mosques and shrines remained closed for the prayers since last week after the government sounded alert over the 3rd possible Covid wave, claiming that the next 100 days are crucial in Jammu and Kashmir. Major shrines and mosques closed include Dargah Hazratbal and historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar.

The devotees offered Friday prayers at the locality mosques like previous Friday, they said.

Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha in a meeting chaired two Fridays back had directed not to allow any gathering where more than 25 people would be participating.

Meanwhile Mutahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU) -- an amalgam of various religious organisations in Jammu and Kashmir -- said the closure of major places of worship in the Valley on Fridays has hurt the religious sentiments of the people.

The MMU -- which is headed by Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq -- expressed strong reservation and condemned the repeated closure of all major places of worship in Kashmir, the amalgam said in a statement.

"If by next Friday, all major places of worship are not opened for worshippers, we will hold a meeting to deliberate on this grave matter, where the future course of action will be decided and people will be informed accordingly," the MMU said.

It said the major mosques and shrines which remained shut on Friday included the Jama Masjid Srinagar, Asar Sharief Dargah Hazratbal, Khanqah-e-Maula, Astane Aliya Dastgeer sahab, Astane Aaliya Makhdoom sahab, Aastane Aliya Naqshband sahab and others by the authorities under the guise of COVID-19.

The amalgam said despite all Covid prevention protocols being in place and complete adherence to SOPs, authorities were not allowing people to offer Friday prayers at these key religious places.

"This is causing anguish and anger among the people as it hurts their religious sentiments and comes in the way of fulfilling their religious obligations," it said.

The MMU said in view of the holy days of Muharram and the significant decline in the coronavirus graph, it was expected that the authorities would facilitate arrangements for the ease of the worshippers.

"But, on the contrary, restrictions are being imposed deliberately to prevent people from exercising their basic religious rights," it said.

It asked those in charge of the decision making to "stop harassing people in this manner" and allow them to pray in peace in mosques and shrines.

The amalgam also called for the immediate release of its head Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who is under house arrest since the revocation of J-K's special status by the Centre in August 2019.

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