Srinagar- No congregational prayers were offered at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid – the grand mosque of Kashmir and Dargah Hazratbal for the 7th consecutive Friday.
Friday prayers were again suspended at the historic Jamia Masjid and Dargah Hazratbal following advisory by the administration limiting gatherings to 25 people in the Union Territory.
Eyewitnesses said that the prayers were not offered as authorities had locked the main gate of the mosques with armed forces personnel deployed in front of it.
In this regard, a formal notice was also posted on the gate of the Jamia Masjid by the administration.
The Anjuman Aquaf Jamia Masjid lamented that despite the fact worshippers are fully adhering to COVID-19 SOPs, the prayers at the largest place of worship in Kashmir were not being allowed for the last Seven Fridays.
Chief executive officer, Waqf Board, Mufti Mohammad Fareed-ud-din, said that the authorities have asked them to allow only 25 people inside the shrine for the prayers.
“My own staff is more than that. How can we allow just 25 people inside,?” he said, adding it is not possible and that the prayers will not be held today.
Earlier, shrines and mosques were shut due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the valley. However, the congregational prayers were allowed at Jamia Masjid after four months as it had remained off-limits for prayers due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, people alleged that the 'dual policy' adopted by administration is confusing as on one hand it has closed worship places and are yet to reopen educational institutions while on the other hand, tourist resorts are open and the administration and political parties are holding functions, Sports tournaments and other melas are being held in the valley.
“It’s ironic that on one hand all concerns regarding Covid are being ignored when it comes to asking people to participate in official functions while restrictions are being imposed on Friday prayers and worship in central mosques, shrines and imambaras where Covid SOPs are being fully followed,” one of the devotee said.
'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,' he added.
Various political parties have asked for immediate opening of all the religious places including Dargah Hazratbal and Jamia Masjid Srinagar for devotees that have been closed for Friday prayers for long.
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