Srinagar, July 04 (KINS): Extra precautions are being taken in Kashmir to prevent misuse and untoward incidents in the masjids even though Waqf Board maintained that all its shrines and mosques will remain closed till Government orders.
At least 112 major revered shrines and masjids that are managed by the Waqf Board are locked since the outbreak of pandemic in March this year. “We will not open shrines and masjids till government orders so. They were closed due to the pandemic. Today, Covid-19 is at its peak. Mortality rate has increased and positive cases have shown a steep rise. No question of opening shrines and masjids in the challenging times,” Showkat Beigh, Secretary Waqf Board told news agency Kashmir Indpeth News Service (KINS).
However there are at least 5500 masjids across Kashmir that are managed by Jamit-e-Ahlihadith, Ahle-Sunah Wal Jamaat, Anjuman-e-Shar-e-Shian, Tableegul Islam, Karwan-e-Islami International and local managing bodies of masjids in every locality.
In many localities in Kashmir, there are masjids that are not affiliated with any group or sect but are purely managed by the locals of the particular area.
However, in the wake of recent two incidents where security agencies said militants took shelter inside masjids, managing bodies of all the masjids across have silently decided to be extra-cautious to prevent any untoward incident in the masjid to ensure masjid property is not damaged.
“In every masjid there is a board headed by the president or a chairman besides eight to ten members. Each member has a responsibility. Like a Muazin, (one who gives Azzan) is responsible for opening the masjid early morning to give prayer call for the pre-dawn (Fajr paryers. Since majority of the masjids remain open and should be so for those who want to offer prayers, but it’s time to keep masjids locked and they will be opened only when there is a call for prayers,” said an elderly man in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, who oversees Jamia Masjid affairs.
KINS spoke to nearly a dozen masjid heads and all were of the opinion that masjids will remain locked throughout the day and will be opened by a particular person at the time of prayers only. “We need to ensure our masjids are safe from any untoward incident which includes theft etc too besides other issues,” said Abdul Jabbar, a resident of Baramulla district, who is also a Muazin at the Jamia Masjid. Other members of various masjids also maintained that extra care is being taken and masjids and their main entries will remain locked 24 hours barring prayer time.
The step comes after two incidents were reported in Kashmir’s Khrew area in Pampore and Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, where according to top police and CRPF officers, militants took shelter inside the mosques. “In Khrew, two militants remained inside the mosque for a night after which they were killed without a use of a single bullet by the security forces”. At Sopore, police and CRPF said that two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants were hiding in a mosque and they fired at the CRPF from the mosque itself killing a CRPF man and a civilian. However, the civilian’s family had demanded a thorough probe. Special DG CRPF Zulfikar Hassan had appealed to masjid committees not to allow masjids to be hijacked by the militants, saying that security forces don’t search masjids and fire at religious places.(KINS)