Congregational prayers held in major mosques, shrines first time since lockdown
Srinagar : Congregational prayers were offered in major mosques and shrines in Kashmir on Friday for the first time since the nationwide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 crises was imposed in March, officials said.
The Friday congregational prayers were also held at the historic Jama Masjid here.
The standard operating procedures (SOPs) and other protocols and guidelines were strictly followed at the Jama Masjid and other major mosques and shrines, officials said adding that as instructed, the worshippers had brought prayer mats along with them for offering prayers.
However, Mirwaiz Molvi Umar Farooq, who usually delivers weekly sermons at the Jamia Masjid on Fridays, could not attend the congregation today due to his continued house detention.
The management committee of the Jama Masjid offered free masks to those who were not wearing one.
Witnesses said the devotees in large numbers attended the Friday congregational prayers at the Dargah Hazratbal as well, where special arrangements in view of COVID-19 were made by the caretakers (Khadims).
Social distancing and other SOP were strictly followed, they said, adding on the occasion people made special prayers for deliverance from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many other major shrines including Chrar-e-Shareef in Budgam district, and Dastgeer Saheb’s shrine, and Khankah-e-Maula in Srinagar also witnessed a huge rush of devotees.
Religious places in Jammu and Kashmir were re-opened on Sunday after remaining shut for about five months due to the lockdown.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on August 04 decided to open religious places and places of worship from August 16, but religious processions and large gatherings remain prohibited.
People and the management committees of all the religious places have been directed to follow the guidelines and SOPs strictly.
Any deviation from the SOPs would attract penal action under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.