SRINAGAR, May 22: For the first time in the history of Kashmir, there were no congregational prayers held on Jumat-ul-Vida – the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan- due to COVID-19.
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At least 20 people died due to COVID-19 and 1400 were infected in Jammu and Kashmir so far and the number of cases is increasing every passing day despite lockdown and tough measures in place to force people indoors.
Normally the largest congregation on the occasion were being held at historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar followed by Hazratbal, the shrine where tens of thousands of people would offer Jumat-ul-Vida prayers.
A large number of people used to offer prayers at Dastgeer Saheb Khanyar, Maqdhoom Saheb, Asar-e-Sharief Kailashpora, Jenab Saheb Soura, and Dastgeer Saheb Sarai Payeen besides thousands attending them at district headquarters and other major towns across Kashmir.
People today continued to stay indoors as was advised by the religious clerics as well as the Government to prevent the virus from spreading.
The Masjids and shrines including Dargah Hazratbal and historic Jamia Masjid in Old City area of Srinagar remained locked for the devotees as precautionary measure in wake of the Coronavirus. In fact, Masjids and shrines remained locked from last over two months now following the directions by the Government with an aim to prevent the disease from spreading. The religious places also remained closed for the devotees on Shab-e-Qadr.
The amalgam of various religious organizations in Kashmir, Mutahida Majlis-e-Ulema Jammu Kashmir, headed by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq has also asked people to stay away from religious gatherings on the auspicious occasions of Shab-e-Qadr, Jumat-ul-Vida and Eid-ul-Fitr, due to COVID-19.
In a statement issued here earlier this week, they said that all religious gatherings on the auspicious occasions of Shab-e-Qadr, Jumat-ul-Vida and Eid-ul-Fitr, will remain suspended.
The MMU appealed people to continue to carry on with prayers and other faith related activities in their homes. It lauded the people for showing great wisdom in following precautionary measures amid COVID-19.
They appealed to the Muslims of Jammu & Kashmir that in view of the rising graph of COVID-19 cases in Kashmir precautionary measures need to be adhered.
However, amid lockdown, Government eased restrictions in certain areas where markets opened today and people were seen buying essentials ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr. However, the people complained of shortage of poultry, mutton and other things, appealing the administration to ensure the food stuff is available in the market.