Srinagar, May 22 : No prayers were offered as mosques and shrines in the valley were deserted on Jamat-ul-Vida, the last Friday of the holy fasting month Ramzan, which this year was a subdued affair in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in view of ban on gatherings and mass prayers to curtail the spread of Coronavirus.
This was the tenth successive Friday that prayers were not offered in mosques and shrines in the valley as a precautionary measure to prevent spread of COVID-19. The Coronavirus cases continued to rise unabated even as the number of infected people is about the cross 1400-mark in J&K, where so far 22 lives have been lost due to the virus. Meanwhile, no congregational Shab-e-Qadr prayers were offered in any mosque in Kashmir valley.
However, people held night-long prayers in their respective homes on the occasion in the valley, including Srinagar. Mosques and shrines, which otherwise used to remain crowded during the month of Ramzan, were deserted though people offered prayers at their respective homes. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMEU), an organisation of different religious bodies, headed by incarcerated Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq, had appealed to people not to hold any congregational prayers in the wake of pandemic.
The MENU had asked people to pray at their homes during Shab-e-Qadr, Jamat-ul-Vida (last Friday of holy month of ramzan). The amalgam has also asked people not to hold any Eid prayers in Eidgah or any other religious place due to threat of spread of virus. All mosques and shrines, including Asaar-e-Sharief Hazratbal, which houses the Holy Relic of Prophet Muhammad, Jamia Masjid and other worship places remained closed since the lockdown was announced in March. However, as the Eid-ul-Fitr cannot be held at homes, people are confused about how to offer Eid prayers.
Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Nasir had recently announced to raise the issue of Eid prayers with the government. Meanwhile, businesses associated with Ramzan have suffered badly in the Valley owing to the lockdown. Srinagar is the main market for dates and dry fruits but people are unable to travel from other districts and even people in Srinagar are confined to their homes.
Establishments -- particularly readymade garments, suits, shoes, kids wear shops -- which used to do brisk business ahead of Eid, also remained closed though bakery shops have been allowed to reopen and home deliver confectionery. Authorities and religious organisations in March closed all mosques and shrines in J&K in view of the outbreak of COVID-19, which has so far claimed six lives. Even though upbeat about the commencement of Ramzan, Muslims in the UT were disappointed that they are missing out on traditional activities like breaking the day-long fast in groups, offering special prayer (Taravi) and night-long congregational prayers in mosques.
But, some mosques in the interior areas in the valley have been holding congregational prayers in violation of lockdown, ordered by the government. Police have taken action in various cases,