J&K: No Eid Prayers at Srinagar's Eidgah This Year Again
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Flickr
Srinagar: The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have decided not to permit the congregational Eid prayers at Eidgah in Srinagar ahead of the Eid ul Fitr to be observed the following week.
A top police officer told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Sonamarg that the authorities will not take any risk as far as the law and order situation in the region is concerned and that the massive gathering at Eidgah can jeopardise peace in the area.
"We cannot allow the prayers at Eidgah because there have always been protests after the Eid prayers. It is not much to sacrifice a little to ensure peace on the ground," the police officer said.
The official responded to queries from reporters after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir's Wakf board, Darakshan Andrabi, said that the prayers would be held during the upcoming Eid.
"Inshallah, We are going to pray namaz at Eidgah this year. All the administration has visited the spot, and the prayers must be held as there is an atmosphere of peace and happiness," Andrabi said last week during her visit to Eidgah.
The BJP leader's claims had excited many as the prayers were expected to be held for the first time after Articles 370 and 35A were abrogated arbitrarily in August 2019.
However, a senior civil administrative official told NewsClick that there had not been any specific meeting on holding Eid prayers so far but added that the decision primarily rests on the assessment of security agencies.
Before 2019, the prayers at Eidgah were led by Mirwaiz Kashmir Umar Farooq, who is also currently serving detention at his Srinagar house since 2019. Regional social and religious groups have widely condemned his detention as he cannot fulfil his duties as a religious figure.
The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have since barred several important prayers on multiple occasions, given the 'law and order' situation. The Imam Hai Ahmad Saeed Naqshbandi, who leads Friday namaz in Jamia Masjid and Eid namaz at Eidgah, has continuously been demanding the release of Mirwaiz given the upcoming occasions like Jummat-ul-Vida (the Last Friday of Ramzan) and holy Shab-e-Qadr (the night of Qadr observed on one the last nights of Ramzan). Both seem unlikely to be allowed in view of the restrictions imposed by the UT administration for the previous four years on such selective gatherings that attract tens of thousands of devotees.
The Auqaf, or the management body, has also objected to restrictive measures taken during the ongoing Ramzan month. "The worshippers who came to perform the Friday prayers in the Jamia Masjid complained that the policemen took their mobile phones and identity cards into their custody before allowing them to the mosque," a statement from Anjuman stated.
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