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J&K imposes lockdown, Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid closes for prayers

Kashmiri boys ride on their bicycles on a deserted road during lockdown to prevent the spread coronavirus in Srinagar, on April 25, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

The J&K government decided to impose a three-day lockdown in 11 of the 20 districts on Wednesday, as the number of COVID-19 cases has seen a major spike this month. The Kashmir valley’s historic Jamia Masjid was also closed for congregational prayers.

According to the official data, 3,023 positive cases were detected in the past 24 hours in the Union Territory (UT), which included 951 cases from Srinagar and 499 from Jammu.

“30 people were declared dead in the hospitals due to the infection, including 18 from the Kashmir valley and 12 from the Jammu region,” the official said.

Wednesday’s toll was the highest since the pandemic broke out in March last year. April saw a steep rise in the number of deaths. While 156 people died and over 37,000 cases were reported in April, a massive jump from just under 2,000 positive cases and less than 50 deaths were reported in March.

The J&K administration decided to impose a lockdown in 11 districts from Thursday evening to Monday morning, to flatten the steep curve.

DRDO to set up 2 hospitals

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will also set up two 500-bed COVID hospitals, one in Jammu and another in Srinagar.

An official said J&K Chief Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam was on Wednesday apprised of “a consistent surge in patient-load over the past few days”.

An official spokesman said Mr. Subrahmanyam was warned that the continuation of this upward trend may lead to a shortage of COVID beds.

The DRDO-supported hospitals will be equipped with isolation beds having oxygen support and 125 fully equipped ICU beds, officials said.

Officials said there was no oxygen shortage till date in any of the hospitals in the Union Territory (UT).

The Jamia Masjid has stopped the five-time congregational prayers, in the wake of the growing cases.

A spokesman of the Anjuman Auqaf Jama Masjid (AAJ), the body that runs the affairs of the mosque, said all congregational prayers have been stopped as Section 144 has come into effect.

“In view of the rapid spread of COVID-19, although all SOPs were being strictly adhered to during prayers, the AAJ decided to suspend all congregational prayers. Only 'azaan' (call for prayers) will be organised," the spokesman said.

J&K Wakaf Board Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mufti Muhammad Farid-ud-Din has also made an appeal to the imams (priests) of mosques and shrines affiliated with the board "to permit only minimum number of people and devotees for prayer".

"I request people to avoid assembling in large numbers during prayer times and play a responsible role in containment of virus spread. He asked people to pray at home in this deadly pandemic," he said.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 4:55:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jk-imposes-lockdown-srinagars-jamia-masjid-closes-for-prayers/article34434790.ece

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