Religious leaders should lead

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Now that Covid-19 related restrictions have been eased in Kashmir and religious places too have been thrown open for public, people have started to pull their respective economies back to the track. The lockdown has impacted all sectors and particularly the labour class and daily earners have suffered a lot. The easing of restrictions would undoubtedly help these marginalized people to earn something to feed their families. However, alongside economy, people need to be mindful of the risks that are associated with easing of the restrictions. While the lockdown had dented the spread of the deadly virus, following easing of restrictions, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased rapidly in Kashmir. Following the health guidelines has thus become more important now. As people are out to do their day-to-day jobs, there is high risk of spread of the coronavirus and therefore the people have to understand that, at the moment, there is no other way to fight the pandemic but to follow the guidelines – wear face masks, maintain social distancing and hand hygiene. Those who take these guidelines non-seriously are not only treading on a suicidal path but are also endangering the lives of others including their dear ones.

Economic activities too are important because people have to work to earn and earn to feed their families but at the same time precautions are a must to ensure the safety of life. No government directives, appeals and advisories can be of any use if people themselves don’t understand that what kind of a threat they are facing if they violate Covid-19 guidelines. Now that the religious places have been thrown open, the religious leaders and Imams of Masjids have a great responsibility to ensure that the health advisories are followed in letter and spirit. Imams are the most influential figures of their respective areas. They have to guide people and make them aware about the looming danger of Covid-19. The Masjids should become the guiding symbols for people to adhere to the health guidelines. Imams have to ensure that those coming to Masjids to offer congregational prayers follow these guidelines – wear face masks and maintain requisite distance. Imams should take it to themselves to educate people about the dreaded disease. Imams will have to make people understand that we are living in a a world that is different from the pre-Covid-19 world. In absence of any cure or vaccine, we have to live with this virus and the only way to defeat is to follow the health advisories and help flatten the curve.

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