Devotees throng religious places; massive protests post congregational prayers against blasphemous video across J&K
Srinagar, Aug 21: After 21 weeks of COVID-19 pandemic, the central Jamia Masjid Srinagar, Dargah Hazratbal and other major shrines across Jammu and Kashmir on Friday were abuzz with congregational prayers where special prayers were also held to seek refuge from the deadly pandemic that has claimed 600 lives and affected over 30,000 people in the UT so far.
The religious places across Jammu and Kashmir were opened by the government on August 16, 2020 after remaining closed for over five months in wake of the deadly CoVID-19 outbreak that claimed 600 lives so far and infected over 30,000 people in the Union Territory.
Witnesses told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the devotees in large numbers attended the Friday congregational prayers at the Dargah Hazratbal where special arrangements in view of COVID-19 were made by the caretakers (Khadims). Social distancing and other Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) were followed in spirit, they said,
Also, devotees in large number participated in the mandatory Friday congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid today while the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) were also being followed by them in letter and spirit.
The Auqaf Jamia Masjid had made elaborate arrangements for the devotees and social distancing was also maintained by the people while offering prayers. As per a statement issued to KNO, the Anjuman Auqaf Jama Masjid said, “Alhamdulillah, the congregational Friday prayers were offered at the historic and central Jama Masjid Srinagar after a gap of 21 weeks due to COVID 19 pandemic as per the announcement of Anjuman Auqaf Jama Masjid.”
As soon as the Azaan (call for prayer) echoed from the minarets, a large number of people including men and women started rushing towards the grand Masjid and offered the congregational Friday prayers observing all measures of physical distancing and other SOPs including wearing of face masks, being implemented by the Anjuman, the statement said.
However, the people on the occasion missed their beloved leader Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir Molvi Umar Farooq who is under house arrest for more than a year now, it said, adding that Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq continuing the tradition of his forefathers – the Mirwaizeen – as a religious and social leader, delivers sermons from the pulpit of Jamia Masjid invoking the message of Qaal Allah Wa Qaal A Rasool Ullah (SAW). However, Mirwaiz could not attend the Jamia Masjid due to his continuous house detention.
On the occasion, the people made special prayers seeking refuge from the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, and the drought-like situation in Valley and other problems and challenges Kashmiris are facing.
Many other major shrines including Chrar-e-Shareef, Dastgeer Sahab shrine, Khankah and others also witnessed a huge rush of devotees who were seen offering prayers at the shrines.
Witnesses informed KNO that at almost all the Masjids and shrines, special prayers were held to seek refuge from ongoing situation that emerged after the outbreak of deadly Coronavirus. Meanwhile, massive protests were held across the Valley post Friday prayers against the derogatory comments against the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) a video that emerged from Jammu.
People in Srinagar areas and also at all the district headquarters across the Valley and also in Chenab Valley area of Jammu, took out peaceful protest rallies demanding stern punishment against those involved in the act that has hurt the religious sentiments of thousands of people across the J&K. The protestors were holding pla-cards displaying slogans—“Hang the man who hurt religious sentiments, Hang the person who spoke against our beloved prophet.” The protests, however, remained peaceful across J&K—(KNO)