Govt weakening Jamia Masjid’s centrality: JRL

Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) Saturday expressed strong resentment and concern over the repeated and arbitrary imposition of curfew and restrictions in downtown Srinagar and lockdown of central Jamia Masjid by the government.

JRL including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik according to a statement issued here said that locking down the central Jamia Masjid especially on Fridays to bar people from all across the valley to assemble and offer prayers there, is aimed at weakening the centrality and significance of the grand mosque.

 “The Historic Jamia Masjid is not only the spiritual centre of confluence for the people of Kashmir but also representative of their political consciousness and aspirations,” they said.

JRL said it is a deliberate bid to silence the voice of truth and justice raised from the pulpit of this historic mosque for decades and resonated by the people, that all roads are blocked with rolls of concertina wires and deployment of the large number of police and paramilitary forces takes place on Fridays converting the whole area into a garrison and undermining the sanctity of the mosque.

“On the other hand, the frequent imposition of curfews and restrictions has taken a serious toll on the trade and the other business activities of the people in downtown, which is the oldest business hub of Kashmir, and they are incurring huge losses. Students of the area are also made to suffer as they are caged inside and their institutions locked out,” JRL said.

Leadership also expressed serious concern over the continued policy of oppression and persecution of the people by the authorities in one form or other.

They said the killing of youth and arresting and detaining them under one pretext or the other, while invoking draconian laws like PSA to keep them under illegal detention, also continues unabated.

“Punishing CASO operations by the armed forces continue daily, especially in South Kashmir villages where people are harassed and homes vandalized. Repeatedly schools colleges and universities are locked down and information channels blocked by raising the bogey of “maintaining law and order” causing distress to students and hardships to the people. There is a blanket ban on our movement and meeting people as we are either caged at homes or detained in jails while tens of dozens of pro-freedom leaders and activists have been lodged in infamous jails across J&K and India where many are even denied medical facilities,” they said.

JRL reiterated that such oppressive measures will not succeed in crushing the people’s spirit. “People of Kashmir are offering priceless sacrifices for the right to self-determination and New Delhi should acknowledge the ground realities in Kashmir and take concrete steps to resolve the issue as per the will and aspirations of people,” JRL added.

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