Authorities bar last Friday prayers of Ramzan: Jamia Masjid, Srinagar

National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah expressed regret over the disallowing of the congregational prayers

Jamia Masjid, Srinagar
Jamia Masjid, Srinagar


The local authorities disallowed the congregational prayer on Jumma-tul-Vida—marking the last Friday of Ramzan—at the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, the grand mosque's managing body said.

Anjuman Auqaf Jamia Masjid—the managing body of the mosque located in the city's Nowhatta area—said in a statement that the district magistrate and police officials visited the shrine on Friday morning and asked the management to lock the gates as "the administration had decided that Jumma-tul-Vida prayers will not be allowed at the mosque".

'The Auqaf strongly resents this move of the authorities, causing great distress to lakhs of Muslims, who traditionally come from all parts of the Valley to offer prayers on the last and greatly blessed Friday of Ramzan in Jamia Masjid, where offering prayers on [the] last Friday has great significance,' the statement said.

National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah also expressed regret over the disallowing of the congregational prayers at the Jamia Masjid.

"I regret this," Farooq Abdullah told reporters at the Hazratbal shrine, when asked about the administration's decision to disallow the congregational prayers on the occasion of the Jumma-tul-Vida.

"If the situation is good, then why the prayers were not allowed at Jamia Masjid?" Abdullah, the Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar, questioned.

Last month, the authorities disallowed the Shab-e-Barat congregational prayers at the mosque.

Reacting sharply to the development, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said the administration was betraying its own claims of normality in the Valley by locking the gates of the grand mosque.

"We are constantly treated to claims of normalcy in J&K and yet the administration betrays its own claims when it resorts to locking up one of our holiest mosques thus denying people the chance to offer prayers on the last Friday of Ramzan," Omar Abdullah, the National Conference vice-president, wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Hurriyat Conference said the closure of the mosque belied the government's claim of normalcy in J–K.

'The prolonged house arrest of chairman and mirwaiz of Kashmir Mohammad Umar Farooq since August 2019, even in the holy month of Ramzan, despite appeals from all quarters for his release, barring him from his religious obligations as the mirwaiz, is greatly regrettable. It defies the authorities claim that 'all is well now' in Naya Kashmir,' the Hurriyat said in a statement.

The separatist amalgam said the repeated closure of the historic and central Jamia Masjid in Srinagar by the authorities also belies these claims.

'Not allowing Jumma-tul-Vida prayers at the historic mosque on such an important religious day, when lakhs of namazis from all over the valley traditionally pray at the masjid for its great religious significance, is condemnable,' it said.

The Hurriyat termed it as 'a direct violation of people's fundamental right to practise their religion'.

'Such measures are a reminder that things on the ground in Kashmir are not what is being propagated to [the] outside world by strictly controlled narrative[s] and huge number of forces on the ground,' the Hurriyat added.

The NC president also demanded the mirwaiz's release from house detention.

"Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is still in house detention. The time has come, when they say the situation is right, that he should be released so that he offers namaz and preaches to the people," he said, adding that it was important, as the situation is such that today people have forgotten God, and have left the right path.

"So, it is important that he [the mirwaiz] comes and preaches to the people and prays for all of us so that we tread the right path," the former Union minister said.

In the event, as Muslims in Kashmir offered Jumma-tul-Vida prayers this last Friday of Ramzan, the biggest congregation was held at Hazratbal shrine, on the banks of the Dal Lake, which houses a relic of Prophet Mohammad.

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