No prayers in mosques, shrines on Shab-e-Baraat in Kashmir

Srinagar:  No night prayers were held at any major mosque or shrine in Kashmir on Shab-e-Baraat (night of forgiveness) as people stayed indoors due to the lockdown to combat the coronavirus threat, officials said on Thursday.

They said authorities as well as religious organisations had appealed to people not to observe the congregation prayers on the occasion and instead pray at homes.

District Magistrate, Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary had issued an order prohibiting all religious congregations and public movement on Shab-e-Barat in the city.

The order issued under Section 144 of the CrPC stated that the decision to prohibit religious gatherings on the occasion was taken based on recommendations of concerned authorities and reports from the field besides taking into account the current precarious health situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jammu and Kashmir’s Grand Mufti Nisar-ul-Islam had urged people not to observe the congregational prayers on Shab-e-Baraat, which is observed by Muslims during the intervening night of 14 and 15 Sha’ban — the 8th month of the Islamic calendar.

However, low-key celebrations and prayers were held at some mosques in the Valley, but the gatherings were small and prayers short, the officials said.

They said most people offered prayers at their homes to seek mercy and forgiveness from the God.

Every year, the biggest congregation on the occasion is held at the revered Hazratbal shrine on the banks of Dal Lake here, where thousands of devotees assemble.

However, no such congregation was held this year there as the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Wakf Board had last month announced suspension of congregational as well as regular prayers in shrines and mosques affiliated to it.

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