Majid Kapra

8 weeks on, no Friday congregational prayers in Valley

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Several booked for violating lockdown, police seals EDB branch Bemina  

Srinagar: Mosques and shrines continued to remain closed for congregational prayers across Kashmir valley for 8th consecutive week on Friday in the wake of nation-wide lockdown to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Both the authorities and religious leaders have appealed people to avoid offering congregational prayers at mosques and shrines till the threat of deadly novel coronavirus subsides. People have been offering prayers at home throughout the holy month of Ramazan.

This Friday too, all religious places were closed for congregational prayers. Valley’s grand mosque, Jamia Masjid, Hazratbal shrine, Peer Dastgeer Shab (r.a) Shrine Khanyar, Khanqahi Moula, Makhdoom Sahab (r.a), Asar Shareef Kalashpora and other religious places, which otherwise would attract huge congregations on Fridays, were closed.

Roads leading to Hazratbal and Jamia Masjid were sealed with spools of barbed wires and iron barricades while security forces deployed on roads were hardly allowing anyone to move.

Contingents of police and paramilitary forces were deployed around central Jamia Masjid at Nowhatta while all entry and exit points leading to the grand mosque were sealed. Police also blocked roads leading to Dargah Hazratbal with razor wires while poses of police and CRPF were deployed on roads.

Markets as usual were deserted and public transport off the roads in Srinagar and elsewhere in the valley following nationwide lockdown which comes to end on May 17.

Meanwhile, police sealed Elaqai Dehati Bank (EDB) branch at Bemina following reports of huge gathering. Officials said the police team from Batamalloo police station sealed EDB branch at Bemina after receiving complaint that a large gathering of people, mostly women, had assembled outside the bank without maintaining social distance.

Police booked many people for violating government orders in Srinagar and elsewhere. Only those associated with emergency service including health workers and media were allowed to move that too after cross verification of movement passes with ID cards.

Pedestrians and motorists were thoroughly checked by the deployed forces on roads and those found roaming on roads unnecessarily were punished. Several vehicles were also sealed by the police for violating lockdown.

Restrictions were first imposed in Srinagar on March 20 after the first case of COVID-19 was reported from Khayyam area of old city. A 67 years old lady who had returned from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah was tested positive for coronavirus.

Reports reaching from other districts of the valley said stringent restrictions were in force with markets closed and public transport off the roads. People also offered Friday prayers at homes in compliance with government orders.

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