If bars can function, why not reopen places of worship?: Jama Masjid Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari


By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari on Monday questioned the continuous closure of religious places in the national capital during the unlock process announced by the Delhi government. 

Conveying displeasure over the decision, he said that bars and restaurants are open in the city but worshippers couldn’t pray in mosques, temples and gurudwaras. 

“The Delhi government has allowed bars and liquor shops, where long queues could be seen, because it gets revenue from them. The government preferred its benefits over common people. For the convenience of people, worshippers should have been allowed at religious places. The order says mosques, temples and gurudwaras can open but devotees can’t come. It is idiotic.  People are asking me when the Jama Masjid will open,” said Bukhari while addressing local residents through the public address system of the historic mosque.

His office said that the public address was made in the evening following frequent enquiries by the public on reopening of Masjid.  Bukhari further appealed to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to take a decision on reopening of religious sites by next Monday. 

“The question is till how long we can keep our religious places closed. If the third wave of the coronavirus comes, which is being discussed, and the situation deteriorates, restrictions can always be imposed again. The central government has reopened Red Fort, Taj Mahal and all protected archaeological sites but religious places in Delhi can’t reopen. Kejriwal should take a decision in this regard by Monday,” Bukhari further said. 

During the address, he also raised the issue of the 8 pm deadline for closing business establishments. Bukhari said that timing restrictions were affecting daily earnings of small shopkeepers.

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