The religious places in Kashmir are reopening on Sunday nearly five months after they were closed as a precautionary measure to contain COVID19.
Asking the devotees to follow the SOPs strictly, the government has made use of Aarogya Setu App by the visitors to religious places mandatory. “However touching statues, idols or holy books will not be permitted.”
In its fresh guidelines, the Jammu and Kashmir government has said that any deviation from SOPs shall attract penal action under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
“Yes the religious places would reopen on 16 August 2020. However, reopening will be strictly guided by standard operating procedure (SOP),” Divisional Commissioner Kashmir PK Pole confirmed to Greater Kashmir.
He informed that the Deputy Commissioners can add additional SOPs to the already issued guidelines for safety purposes.
“The devotees should follow SoPs in letter and spirit,” he said.
As reported earlier, gearing up to reopen religious places, J&K Muslim Wakf Board has sought assistance from the divisional administration for strict implementation of COVID SOPs at shrines and mosques to ensure safety for devotees. In a communication to Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, the Wakf Board has said that the annual Urs Char Yaar is being observed at Dargah, Hazratbal; Jiban Sahib Soura; Asari Shareif, Kalashpora; Kabamarg and other places on August 18.
Authorities had announced closure of all mosques and shrines in J&K in view of the outbreak of COVID-19 in March this year. Later, Islamic scholars had also appealed people not to hold any congregational prayers in the wake of pandemic.