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14 Fridays on: No congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid

Srinagar, Oct 14 (KNS): For the fourteenth consecutive Friday today, authorities didn’t allow congregational prayers at historic Jamia Masjid nor did they permit the call for prayers, much to the disappointment of thousands of devotees who would normally offer Friday prayers there.
The last Friday prayers were offered at the historic Masjid on July 8, on the third day of Eid-ul-Fitr.
People in Srinagar mostly prefer to offer Friday prayers at the masjid.
“The last time we offered Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid was some days before Eid-ul-Fitr. Now Eid-u-Azha is approaching. Authorities have imposed curfew also on our religious activities,” said local people.
They added that the move is time and again hurting religious sentiment of Muslims in Kashmir.
“The curbs on religious affairs are not good. If RSS can hold rallies in Jammu and Muslim Majority district in Jammu province why Muslims are bared for performing their religious activities in Kashmir,” said locals at Nowhatta.
The practice to disallow prayers in this Grand Masjid began in 1819. It happened during the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh when the then Governor Moti Ram curbed prayers at the Masjid.
“That time, no prayers were offered and no call for prayers was given from the Masjid. The curbs remained in force for over two decades,” said an academician.
Now since 2008 uprising, state government has recurrently denied Friday prayers at the Masjid on one or another pretext.
“This is a direct interference in the religious affairs of people,” said a group of devotees.
Jamia Masjid was constructed by Sultan Sikandar, father of Zainul Aabideen alias Budshah between 1389-1420.
Thousands of devotees who usually offer Friday prayers in historic Jamia Masjid include men, women and children.
Terming the locking down of religious places of Muslims as “painful”, devotees said: “This is the darkest era we are going through. We have never seen such a longest period when Jamia Masjid was locked down. It is direct interference in the religious affairs.”
Meanwhile, authorities on Friday imposed curfew-like restrictions in various areas of Srinagar prevent a separatist called protest march.
Contingents of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in full riot gear were deployed in both uptown and old city areas of Srinagar to impose curfew-like restrictions to prevent a separatist called sit-in and protest march here. (KNS)