Srinagar: Kashmir’s central mosque, the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, continues to remain out of bounds for people on Fridays, for the 19th consecutive week. The 600-year-old mosque is not only sacred but part of the social fabric in Srinagar.
“The authorities and police once again today morning stopped the Auqaf employees from opening the doors of the grand mosque,” the Anjuman Auqaf, the body that manages the grand mosque, said in a statement. “As a result, the people having come from parts of the city as well as remote areas were deprived of Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid, thereby preventing them from performing their religious obligations and hurting their religious sentiments.”
The valley’s religious head, who delivers the Friday sermon at the mosque, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, remains under house arrest since 2019. Despite repeated pleas by various religious bodies, he continues to spend his time inside his home, for more than two years now. On December 13, the leading religious, social and civil society organisations of Kashmir had unanimously appealed for reopening the Jamia Masjid for Friday prayers.
“The Anjuman has also expressed strong resentment against the continuous incarceration of its head Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir Dr Moulvi Muhammad Umar Farooq who continues to be under illegal and arbitrary house arrest since 5 August 2019. It is extremely unfortunate for all sections of people that their topmost religious leader is being forcibly detained and disallowed from delivering majlis e waz on Fridays at Jamia mosque,” the Anjuman said.
It was in June this year that the mosque last held congregational prayers on a Friday.