Kashmir’s Grand Mosque remained locked for 18 Fridays in 2017

Prayers in Kashmir’s grand Mosque allowed after three Weeks
Bilal Bashir Bhat
Srinagar, Dec 29 (KNB): To offer congregational prayers, thousands of devotees on Friday thronged Kashmir’s grand Mosque Srinagar which remained closed for continuous past three weeks due to the restrictions imposed by the government. The Masjid remained locked by the authorities for almost 18 Fridays during the year 2017 including on Juma-tul-Vida (the last Friday of Ramadan).

Pertinently, following the alleged lynching incident of senior Police official in June this year, no congressional prayers were allowed in Jamia Masjid Srinagar on the occasion of Jumatul Vida (the last Friday of Ramadan), the first time in the living history of Kashmir. 
Kashmir’s chief cleric and chairman of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who usually delivers sermon before the Friday prayers, was also confined to his house on several occasions in 2017.     
Much to the disappointment of thousands of devotees who would normally offer Friday prayers, the huge deployment of forces deployed in the locality has become a routine practice of the government particularly aftermath the 2008 Shrine Board Agitation. 
In 2016, after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani the Grand Mosque (Jamia Masjid) remained locked for 19 weeks, it was the longest period after Maharaja Rule that Jamia Masjid  was locked down.

Meanwhile, Mirwaiz today addressing a mammoth gathering at Jamia Masjid Srinagar hit out at the ruling regime for putting curbs in downtown and disallowing Friday prayers at Jama Mosque repeatedly and termed it as act of oppression and vendetta against the innocent people of downtown for their unflinching support for the movement. He said, however, these curbs were not going to break their resolve. (KNB)

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