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J&K: Outrage as Prayers Barred for Third Consecutive Friday at Historic Jamia Masjid

Anees Zargar |
The prayers are attended by thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of Muslims from the valley.

Srinagar: Anjuman Auqaf Jamia Masjid Srinagar has condemned the administration's decision to disallow Friday prayers at the region's central mosque for the third consecutive week, the management body of the historic mosque said in a statement.
The Anjuman, in a statement, said they were informed by the Union Territory's administration on Friday morning to close all the doors of the Masjid and not to open it for the weekly congregational prayers, attended by thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of Muslims from the valley.

The body also expressed "regret" over the detention of Mirwaiz Kashmir for the third Friday as he was barred from attending Friday prayers. The Anjuman termed the restrictions "unjustified" and "unreasonable".

The restrictions in Jamia came when devotees attended the Urs of one of the oldest renowned Sufi Islamic missionaries, Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Gilani, at a shrine close to the mosque. The Anjuman added that Mirwaiz was also barred from participating in the Sufi saint's commemoration at his shrine in Khanyar due to his house detention.

The Jammu and Kashmir's top cleric was released from his house detention earlier in September for the first time in the last four years that he spent in house detention after the authorities revoked Articles 370 and 35A in 2019. During this time, the historic Jamia Masjid – which has remained central to Kashmir's religious and political landscape – has also been mostly shut for prayers for the longest time in the region's troubled history.

"It is heartbreaking for us as long as the prayers at the mosque are not allowed and indicates how difficult the situation is for the common masses," a local of Srinagar told NewsClick.

Following yesterday's restrictions, the Mirwaiz-led All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) also slammed the authorities for banning the prayers at the mosque and detaining the party chairman at his residence.

The party added that the repeated closure of the Masjid and house detention of Mirwaiz Umar are reminders of the situation in the region and its fragile 'normalcy'.

"If the reason is the fear of display of support and solidarity by the people of Kashmir with the hapless people of Palestine being bombed and butchered by Israel, that solidarity was and will be there for them as fellow humans and Muslims," the statement added.  

"Kashmiris stand with the people of Palestine irrespective of bans and restrictions on them," the statement said.

The moderate faction led by Mirwaiz also questioned the international community, groups and governments for their role in the ongoing violence against Palestinians whilst arguing that war can not buy peace.

"As thousands of children of Gaza have been bombed to death, hospitals and homes are being razed to the ground, the war on Palestinians continues uninterrupted, and those who claim to be champions of human rights and freedoms are either supporting it or silent," the APHC said.

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