Srinagar, Aug 21 According to news agency (GNS): For the first in more than five months, congregational Friday prayers were offered in all mosques and shrines in Kashmir Valley.

Amid covid-19 prevention measures, prayers were offered in historic Jamia Masjid here, Dargah Hazratbal besides shrines of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani in Charari Sharief, Hamza Makhdoom Kashmiri Sahib, Harzat Syed Yaqoob Sahib as well as other mosques.

Marinating social distance and following guidelines issued by the authorities, a large number of people offered the prayers in Hazratbal shrine. Official said that a good number of women also offered prayers.

Historic Jamia Masjid also witnessed large gathering of people who were seen maintaining social distance and wearing masks.

Last year, the historic mosque remained closed for 132 days due to restrictions imposed by the authorities after scrapping Article 370 and Article 35 A on August 5, 2019.

Devotees in large numbers also thronged shrine of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani in Charari Sharief after it was thrown open for general public last week.

Similarly, first time in the 22 weeks people offered prayers in congregation in other mosques and shrines across the valley.

Hitherto, no congregational prayers were held on Shab-e-Qadar, Jamat-ul-Vida, the last Friday of the holy fasting month Ramzan, besides Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha prayers.

The government opened all religious places and places of worship from August 16 with the direction that guidelines shall be strictly adhered to and people shall not lower their guard against the virus. “Community response holds the key to fighting Pandemic. Glad to see observance of SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) as religious places opened today after 5 months. Hopeful about industry, business & transport to follow the pursuit,” Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary had tweeted.