Covid-19 pandemic: In first of its kind, no Friday congregation held in JK Masjids, shrines

Many including Imams booked for violating Govt orders; Historian says such situation never witnessed before, in 1878, outbreak of flu ‘Hawayi Ratti’ forced many to leave Kashmir

Owais Gul/Mubashir Aalam Wani

Srinagar, Mar 27 (KNO): For the first time in history, no congregational prayers were held on Friday across Jammu and Kashmir in wake of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic with government imposing restrictions across the Union Territory to prevent the virus from spreading.

According to wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), all the Masjids and major shrines across Kashmir including Dargah Hazratbal and historic Jamia Masjid remained locked today and no congregational prayers were held today.

The authorities had on Thursday ordered closure of all the religious places in many parts of Kashmir to ensure the deadly virus is prevented from spreading. The decision was taken after at least 12 people including the minors from Srinagar were tested positive for the Covid-19. However, the government in this evening informed that four more persons have been tested positive in Srinagar, thus taking the overall toll of positive cases to 16.

One person has also died due to the virus on Thursday while as one patient from Srinagar has also recovered, government has said.

Witnesses said that amid rainfall, large contingent of police and paramilitary troopers were deployed across the Union territory to enforce the restrictions. Besides, the people across India are observing lockdown for the third consecutive day on the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The lockdown will continue for 21 days aimed to stop the virus from spreading.

According to—KNO correspondents, all the major masjids and shrines across remained closed for the prayers while prayers were held in some Masjids with only few people attending the mandatory prayers.

The historians said that it is for the first time that Masjids have been locked across Jammu and Kashmir. Zareef Ahmad Zareef, a prominent historian said that similar kind of situation was witnessed in the year 1878 when a flu which was named ‘Hawayi Ratti’ was found in Kashmir only. He said that this was the time when Ranbir Singh, son of Ghulab Singh was ruling the Valley.

“The people in Kashmir preferred to stay away from Masjids but only few religiously good were going to the Masjids and praying there,” he told—KNO, adding that only 2.5 lakh people remained in Kashmir at that time and rest of the people in Kashmir went to other places.

However, he said that it is for the first time when the Masjids are locked, adding that such a situation has never been witnessed in the past.

Moreover, authorities continue to book people for violating the restrictions under section 144 CrPc. Two persons were booked in Central Kashmir Budgam district, officials said, adding that one among the person hails from Sogam Chadoora while the other, who is a religious cleric, was booked for assembling gathering for prayers.

Besides, on the directions of District Magistrate Bandipora, Police have booked six persons for violating restriction orders.

An FIR under number 10/2020 under section 188 IPC has been registered at Police Station Hajin against six persons who violated the restriction orders, police officials sai, adding that all the accused have been arrested by the Hajin Police during patrolling in the area.

Earlier, an open FIR was registered at Police Station Pethkoot against people who assembled near ATM in contravention to the Section 144.

In Reasi, two persons were booked for violating the government orders, officials said, adding that a case under FIR number 31/2020 under section 188 IPC was registered against a Molvi Mohammad Zafar, son of Mohammad Zubair of Nowabad, Reasi, Imam of Jama Masjid Nowabad and others for violation of orders in which it was clearly indicated that no religious or other gathering shall be allowed.

Another case under FIR number 32/2020 under section 188 IPC stands registered against one shopkeeper namely Ramesh Kumar, son of Jagan Nath of ward number 05, Nai Basti Reasi, who was running his Shop at Nai Basti Reasi in clear violation of the orders.

It is worth to mention here that many of the Masjids as per the locals remained locked today. Earlier yesterday, the authorities had appealed the Masjid committees to avoid large gathering in religious places so that the virus is prevented from spreading.

In Poonch and other Jammu districts, restrictions continued to remain in place with people working in emergency sectors being allowed to move.

The Muslims across the province offered afternoon prayers at home with District Magistrate Rajouri, Mohammad Nazir Sheikh said that people offered Friday prayers from their homes and all the mosque committees and Auqaf Islamia extended best possible cooperation in it

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