Jama Masjid may close again as Bukhari’s secy succumbs to COVID

New Delhi: The authorities at the historical Jama Masjid mosque in central Delhi, which opened on June 8, are mulling closing the mosque for some more time looking at the spike in the number of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases.

The development comes a day after Jama Masjid Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari’s secretary Amantullah passed away at Safdarjung hospital on Tuesday night due to Covid-19.

Speaking to IANS on Wednesday, Syed Ahmed Bukhari said, “I have asked the people to share their views to close the mosque in view of the number of Covid-19 cases and fatalities.”

He said the suggestions that I am getting through WhatsApp messages and the social media show that over 70 per cent people are of the view to close the mosque in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Bukhari said that he has also appealed to the people to offer namaz from their homes.

He added that the decision to close the mosque or not will be taken by Thursday evening.

“I have also asked other smaller mosques to appeal to people to stay at home and offer namaz from there instead of going to mosques for it,” Bukhari said, adding that in big mosques people can follow the protocol of social distancing but in small mosques following social distancing is very tough.

On Tuesday, Delhi saw a spike of 1,366 fresh cases of Covid-19, taking the tally to 31,309, while the death toll mounted to 905, authorities said on Wednesday.

Speaking about his secretary Amanatullah, Bukhari said that he tested positive for coronavirus on June 3.

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“He had not been coming to the mosque for the last two months and was staying with his family in Okhla. And he was having fever for over the last 20 days. So he was admitted in Safdarjung hospital eight days ago and he passed away on Tuesday night,” Bukhari said.

The mosque had opened on June 8 after a gap of over two months with the government allowing further relaxations as part of “Unlock-1”, the first phase of a calibrated exit from the novel coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown.

As religious places along with several other establishments like shopping malls and offices opened across the country on June 8, Bukhari asked governments to reconsider their decision in view of the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

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