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Restrictions continue in Kashmir, police book several people for organising Friday prayers

SRINAGAR: The restrictions on the movement and assembly of people to curb the spread of the coronavirus continued in Kashmir for the tenth consecutive on Saturday, even as police booked several people for defying the lockdown by organising congregational prayers on Friday, officials said.
While most of the mosques and shrines in the valley were shut, a few mosques held the Friday prayers, they added.
The police booked several people for defying the prohibitory orders and organising the Friday prayers, the officials said.
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In Ganderbal district of central Kashmir, police lodged an FIR against several people for gathering to offer Friday prayers in the Jamia Masjid Chattergul, they added.
An FIR was lodged for similar reasons in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, the officials said.
Friday prayers were held in Pandushan village of Shopian, endangering the lives of hundreds of villagers, they said.
The police booked Maulvi Abdul Ghani Thoker, a resident of Pandushan who led the prayers, and four others who organised the congregation, the officials said.
The police arrested six persons from the Hajin area in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, they added.
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While Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day countrywide lockdown on Tuesday evening, the Union Territory administration here had announced a lockdown across Jammu and Kashmir till March 31 on Sunday as part of its efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Essential services, including healthcare personnel, have been exempted from the restrictions.
The district administrations have put in place a mechanism to ensure uninterrupted supplies and deliveries of essential services to the public. Essential commodities will be home-delivered to the residents as part of the mechanism.
The markets across the valley were shut and public transport was off the roads with only pharmacies and groceries allowed to open, the officials said.
Educational institutions have been closed, while all public places including gymnasiums, parks, clubs and restaurants were shut down more than a week before the nationwide lockdown announced by the prime minister.
The restrictions were first imposed in many parts of the valley on Thursday last week. The measures were taken after a 67-year-old woman from the Khanyar area of the city, who had returned from Saudi Arabia on March 16 after performing Umrah, tested positive for COVID-19.
The total number of coronavirus cases has gone up to 14 in the valley and 20 in the Union Territory.
One patient in Kashmir has recovered from the disease, while another one succumbed at a hospital here on Thursday morning.

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