Srinagar: National Conference (NC) Monday expressed concern over the curbs on offering Friday prayers at Hazratbal and Jamia Masjid saying that the measure besides causing relentless agony to the devotees also affects the livelihood of local vendors.
A statement of NC issued here said that expressing dismay over not allowing Friday prayers at Hazratbal and Jamia Masjid, NC’s senior provincial vice president Muhammad Syed Akhoon said, “Besides not allowing the devotees to offer prayers and obeisance at Hazratbal and Jamia Masjid, the administration is also ensuring strict lockdown in the markets on Friday eve. This has had a cascading effect on the local business activities, which are already reeling under the worst economic slump.”
Referring to the double standards of the administration, he said that on one hand the administration was coming up with government functions and events marked by heavy public rush and on the other hand, the devotees were not being allowed to fulfill their religious obligations.
“Why is the excuse of Covid-19 only invoked when it comes to allowing prayers at the shrines? Why two different yardsticks? Nationally and globally also we see how the doors of religious places have been let open for devotees with proper SOPs in place to ensure their safety and wellbeing. This selective approach smacks of discrimination,” Akhoon said.
Demanding that the devotees be allowed to offer obeisance and prayers at Hazratbal and Jamia Masjid, he said that the measure would bring respite to thousands of devotees whose religious sentiments were associated with the holy shrines and central Masjid.
He also urged the administration to allow the markets around the shrine and the Masjid to run as per routine.
“We are only left with a few weeks of warmer days. During the winter months, the economic activity takes a back seat due to the vagaries of weather. Therefore having the shops closed on Fridays is a grave injustice with the marginal traders in these markets. The traders should be allowed to make the most of the remaining summer days to compensate for the losses incurred by them during successive Covid-19 induced lockdowns,” Akhoon said.