Srinagar : Friday prayers remained suspended for the fourth successive week at historic Jamia Masjid in the downtown, Assar-e-Shareif Hazratbal and others major shrines in Kashmir valley to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
However, this Friday prayers were also not offered in mosques on main city roads due to restrictions imposed by the authorities as a precautionary measure following the death of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who breathed his last at his house in Hyderpora in the outskirts of Srinagar on Wednesday night.
Prayers were offered in local mosques, particularly in the interior areas.
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. Jamia market also remained closed.
‘No Friday prayers were held for the fourth 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 a fresh 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.
Congregational prayers were also not allowed for the fourth 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 and Hazrat Mehboob-ul-Aalam.
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.
‘If the government is concerned that COVID-19 could spread after opening the educational institutes and worship places a, it should also stop holding functions with large gatherings as they too can lead to spread of the virus,’ alleged Mohammad Amin, a retired teacher.