The Jama Masjid may have to be closed again in view of the "deteriorating" situation in Delhi due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the mosque's Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari said on Wednesday. The development comes after the Shahi Imam's secretary Amanullah died due to the novel coronavirus at the Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday night.
Delhi recorded 1,366 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, taking the tally to 31,309, while the death toll mounted to 905, authorities said on Wednesday. "He (Amanullah) had tested positive and was admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital on June 3, where he breathed his last yesterday," Bukhari said.
The Shahi Imam said the opinion of the people has been sought on closing the historic mosque again in view of the surge in the number of novel coronavirus cases in the national capital. "People are giving their views through social media and other channels on closing the Jama Masjid. We may again shut it down for people and limit 'namaz' for a few people, in a day or two," he 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.
"I have also asked other smaller mosques to appeal to people to stay at home and offer 'namaz' instead of going to mosques for it. What is the point of visiting mosques at such a time when the spread of the coronavirus is peaking in Delhi, when we did not do so even during Ramzan and Eid due to the lockdown," Bukhari said.
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.