Srinagar: Jumat-ul-Vada prayers on the last Friday of Ramadan were disallowed at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid on Friday by the government, for the first time since the days of the pre-1947 Dogra regime. The pro-freedom leadership had called for protests against civilian killings after the Jumat-ul-Vida prayers.
All roads leading towards the historic mosque were sealed with barbed wires and a heavy deployment of troops stood guard outside the main gate of the mosque to prevent people from entering the mosque.
Streets and lanes around the grand mosque wore a deserted look as civilian movement was crippled by the presence of soldiers.
Earlier this month on June 9, Friday prayers during Ramadan were not allowed at the mosque after the pro-freedom leadership called for protests against the killing of a youth in Shopian by government troops.
During the holy month of Ramadan, more devotees, including women and children, come to the mosque in large numbers than in usual days.
Last year, the mosque was the epicentre of anti-India protests in Srinagar on every Friday. To counter the protests, the authorities had sealed it for nearly four months.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chief cleric of the mosque, said that it was for the first time in the living memory of people that the Jamia Masjid, the religious centre of the Muslims of the valley, had been locked down.
“The locking down and barring of people (from offering prayers) on a day when people of the Valley wait for a whole year to offer prayers here is the most condemnable act,” he said.
He said that such “anti-Muslim and oppressive moves now come as no surprise” to the people of Kashmir, who each day are subject to various forms of human rights violations and abuse which include infringement upon their religious rights.