Restrictions in Kashmir, JK Waqf Board suspends regular prayers

TNN Bureau. Updated: 3/22/2020 2:14:34 AM Front Page

Gazetted holidays cancelled, 65 accommodations for quarantining

SRINAGAR: Strict restrictions on movement and assembly of people continued for the third consecutive day on Saturday in Kashmir to contain the spread of the new coronavirus that has infected one person in the valley, even as the Divisional Commissioner Pandurang K. Pole today appealed people across Valley to observe Janata Curfew on March 22 in letter and spirit, by remaining confined to their homes, and make the program a great success.
The Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board announced the suspension of regular prayers at mosques and shrines affiliated to it in the Valley.
Adequate security forces remained deployed and barricades put up at several places in Srinagar. Only government and essential services employees with valid identity cards, mediapersons, and people with health emergency were allowed to move on streets.
Divisional Commissioner Pandurang K Pole said that section 144 under CrPC has been imposed across valley with the purpose to contain the spread of the deadly infection. Besides, restrictions have been imposed on public transport and railway services.
He further said that scores of people hide foreign travel history and to investigate it, Divisional Administration of Kashmir approached Immigration Bureaus of all international airports to get each and every detail.
The Div Com said that as per National Disaster Act, District Magistrate has full powers to arrest such people who are hiding their travel history.
He appealed such people not to hide foreign travel history and asked them to come forward, take appropriate measures in consultation with the healthcare experts.
The Div Com said, “Our preparedness on ground is robust. Sufficient equipments, testing facilities, VTM, protection gears and adequate sample collection facilities are available at five places including GMC Srinagar, SKIMS and District Hospitals of Baramullah, Anantnag and Pulwama.”
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said that people should cooperate with the government by adhering to its advisories to tackle the spread of the infectious disease.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board on Saturday announced the suspension of regular prayers at mosques and shrines affiliated to it in the Valley as a preventive measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
"It is hereby ordered to suspend regular prayers in shrines/mosques affiliated with the Waqf Board and displaying of the Holy Relic on the occasion of Mehrai-ul-Alam celebrations," the board said in an order.
The decision to suspend the prayers was taken as a preventive measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the Kashmir Valley and in view of the imposition of restrictions under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) by various district administrations, the board said.
Meanwhile, the Grand Mufti of Kashmir, Mufti Nasir, advised people to avoid religious gatherings and ceremonies including weddings.
However, he said regular prayers would be offered at mosques. The decision to this effect came after a meeting of various ulemas of the valley.
"There was a unanimous decision that regular prayers will be offered at the mosques. The prayers and sermon will be brief on Fridays and precautionary measures will be taken," he said.
He said only physically fit people who have no sign of sickness should attend the prayers and those sick with cold and fever and have other symptoms should sit at home.
He also said the people should observe Shab-e-Meraj (night of ascent) at home.
Meanwhile, in Srinagar, the administration ordered cancellation of all gazetted holidays in the district.
The order issued under sections 33 and 34 of the act directs that officials of essential services departments and those involved in measures for containment of spread of coronavirus infection will not avail any gazetted or restricted holidays including Sundays and will not avail any leaves.
It also directs private persons and organisations requisitioned for providing services or assisting the authorities or officials engaged in measures for creation of facilities etc. as per directions under the disaster management act to ensure strict adherence to all instructions without fail.
It also directs that all government officers and officials who might be on leave shall report to duty as and when required or asked.
The order states that non-compliance with instructions under the order or creating of obstructions in implementation of measures for dealing with the emerging situation will attract strict action as warranted under section 51 of the disaster management act.
The Srinagar administration has requisitioned 65 well-equipped hotels and government accommodations to be used as quarantine facilities for citizens arriving back in Srinagar from outside countries and those who might have contact into with the COVID-19 positive case in the district.
The hotels requisitioned for the purpose are all 3-star certified with all facilities to facilitate comfortable quarantine. The government accommodations acquired are also all well-equipped.
The citizens adding up to 1166 persons who arrived back in Srinagar from outside countries during the last three days have been shifted to 20 of these quarantine facilities.
It should be noted that 685 persons out of the total people having arrived back in Srinagar so far returned today. The remaining 481 persons had returned during the previous two days and had been shifted to quarantine facilities soon after their return.

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