Congregational prayers for Id banned in Kashmir

People told to pray at home, trains cancelled as administration cites possible third wave

The J&K administration announced a series of restrictions including barring congregational prayers at traditional venues, closing of gardens and suspension of intra-Kashmir train services on Id-ul-Zuha, citing fears of a third wave of infections. Further, only vaccinated individuals have been asked to carry out the ritual sacrifices.

Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K. Pole has called for “a decentralised way of prayers” on the occasion.

“No congregational prayers will be allowed in the Kashmir Valley in view of the prediction of a third wave of coronavirus. The coming days will be very crucial. People should continue their fight against the pandemic by strictly following the physical distancing norms and use of masks,” officials said.

Officials in Bandipora, while barring large congregations, have decided to close down all parks and gardens on the occasion. Officials in north Kashmir’s Kupwara have also advised people to avoid congregational prayers and pray at home. The intra-Kashmir rail service will also remain suspended for two days.

“I appeal to people of Kashmir to strictly follow the government laid standard operating procedures and necessary health protocols on the occasion. Religious leaders and senior citizens should guide masses in celebrating this Id at home,” Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said.

Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid, the popular Hazratbal shrine and Old City’s Eidgah grounds are unlikely to host any congregational prayers. Due to the ongoing pandemic, markets in Kashmir witnessed a slump in business.

Message from Mirwaiz

The Valley’s chief cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who remains under house arrest since August 5, 2019, in a message, prayed for the end of the pandemic.

“Like in the rest of the world, this Id is being celebrated in J&K amidst a challenge posed by coronavirus. People are facing immense problems. We have pinned our hopes on Allah that He will see us through,” the Mirwaiz, who is also the Hurriyat chairman, said.

Vaccinated butchers

Meanwhile, health experts have advised people to get their sacrificial animals slaughtered by vaccinated butchers.

“Only vaccinated butchers should slaughter sacrificial animals as unvaccinated butchers have every chance to get infected while visiting multiple houses to deliver their services and will thus act as a source to spread infection among other families,” Dr. M. Salim Khan, Professor and Head Community Medicine at the Government Medical College in Srinagar, said.

He stressed that only vaccinated persons should handle the affairs of distribution of meat to other families. “Only vaccinated individuals should visit other families and only vaccinated persons should be invited to home,” he added.

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