Since the lynching of DSP Muhammad Ayoub Pandith on the night of Lailatul Qadr, the Jamia Masjid (Central Mosque) in Old city of Srinagar was locked and a siege was laid around for the fifth consecutive Friday to prevent worshipers from offering Friday prayers.
“Concertina wires block all gates of #JamaMasjid for the 5th consecutive Friday as the brazen PDP/BJP ruling regime disallows Muslims to pray,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who leads the Friday prayers on every Friday at historic Jamia Masjid tweeted.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman of Hurriyat (M) was early today put under house arrest and was denied any permission by the authorities to offer Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid.
Jamia Masid, which was built by Sultan Sikandar, father of Zainul Aabideen, popularly known as Budshah, between 1389-1420 has been an epicenter for religo-political life in Srinagar.
After July 8, when Hizb commander Burhan Wani was killed in south Kashmir, Jamia Masjid saw a longest siege since 1819. Jamia Masjid remained under continuous siege for 18th consecutive week in 2016, the longest since Sikhs ruled Kashmir.
Historian and writer Zareef Ahamd Zareef says that Jamia Masjid was seized for the longest period during the Sikh rule.
The Sikhs, according to Zareef, kept Jamia Masjid closed for 22 years during the rule of Sikhs from 1819-1946 and Sikh soldiers made barracks in the mosque.
Meanwhile, for the first time in the recent history of Jamia Masjid, worshipers were denied permission to pray on the occasion of Juma-tul-vida, the last Friday of Ramadhan.
“For the first time in living memory #JamaMasjid locked down and people barred from offering Juma-tul-vida prayers by the authorities!,” Mirwaiz tweeted after he was house arrested on June 23.
Jamia Masjid was locked down for 54 times in 2016-2017 on Fridays, says Zareef.
“We never imagined that the Jamia Masjid would be locked up on the pious occasion of Juma tul Vida or Eid. The whole Kashmir would come to pray at this historic place on these auspicious days, but unfortunately the government did not allow it to happen,” said Zareef.
Meanwhile, Curfew was imposed on Friday in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of eight police stations in old city areas of Srinagar including the Jamia Masjid area in Nowhatta to prevent people from assembling at the mosque.
The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) had given a call for protest and shutdown and had asked people to march towards United Nations office in Sonwar to protest against the civilian killings and human rights violations in the Valley.