No Jumat-ul-Vida prayers held anywhere in Kashmir

The Jumat-ul-Vida prayers remained suspended across Kashmir today due to COVID19 outbreak.

Officials said that there was no report of any gathering— Friday congregation— from any part of Kashmir.

“Restrictions remained in force as usual,” they said.

Most of the masjids and shrines across the valley, including those in Srinagar city, are closed since the covid19 lockdown announced by the government.  The management committees of the masjids/

shrines also urged the faithful to avoid congregational prayers to prevent spread of coronavirus.

On Jumat-ul-Vida, which marks the final Friday of Ramadhan, and other Fridays in the month of Ramadahn, the largest congregation in Kashmir would be held at Hazratbal shrine followed by Jama Masjid Srinagar in the normal times. Similarly, major congregations would be held at Handwara, Pulwama, Baramullah , Sopore , Chrar-e-Shrief, Asar Sharief Pinjora, Khiram Sirhama, Tral, Ashmuqam, Baba Reshi among other places.

The SRTC used to press a fleet of special buses into service to cater to the huge rush of devotees for these shrines/masjids. Many private operators and charity organisations would also make arrangements for the devotees.

However, due to outbreak of coronavirus, no prayers were held at these shrines/masjids on any Friday during Ramadhan this year.

Today it was the 9th consecutive Friday since the imposition of the covid19 lockdown, when no congregational prayers were held in any masjid/shrine in valley.

Meanwhile, since Friday morning, police vehicles fitted with public address systems went around the residential areas of the city and elsewhere in the valley announcing that restrictions under section 144 CrPC were imposed and urged the people to stay indoors.

The markets across the valley were shut with only few pharmacies and grocery shops remaining open. The public transport was off the roads, which wore a deserted look as only employees working in emergency fields are allowed to move.

Restrictions were first imposed in valley parts on March 20 to contain the spread of the virus. The measures were taken after a 67-year-old woman from the Khanyar area of the city, who had returned from Saudi Arabia on March 16 after performing Umrah, tested positive for COVID-19.