After remaining under continuous siege for seven weeks, Jamia Masjid in old city of Srinagar was abuzz with worshippers after authorities allowed Friday prayers today under heavy deployment of forces around the area.
“After7 weeks Friday prayers allowed. Heavy deployment on all routes leading to #JamaMasjid to discourage people, I addressed people over phone,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tweeted.
The mosque was seized on June 23 after deputy superintendent of police Ayoub Pandith was lynched outside the premises of the mosque.
However, barring Friday congregational prayers, daily prayers were allowed during the past seven weeks.
Jamia Masjid witnessed a second longest siege since July 8, when Hizb commander Burhan Wani was killed in south Kashmir. The longest siege Jamia Masjid witnessed was in 1819 under Sikh rule.
Meanwhile, the chief cleric of Jamia Masjid Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was continuously kept under house arrest and was not allowed to lead the prayers in the mosque. However, he addressed the people over phone.
Pertinently, the trader’s bodies on Thursday lead a protest march against the administration for not allowing prayers in the Jamia.
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 to prevent worshipers from offering Friday prayers.
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.
Earlier in the month of June, 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.
According to the reports, Jamia Masjid was locked down for 57 times in 2016-2017 on Fridays.