Clashes Erupt at Nowhatta After Forces Foil Protest March

SRINAGAR: Clashes erupted in Nowhatta area of Srinagar on Thursday after forces foiled the protest march organized by people against the closure of Jamia Masjid since last 14 consecutive Fridays and detention of Hurriyat Conference (m) chairperson, Mirwaiz Molvi Umar Farooq.

Local sources said that the people had organized protest march to press the government for their demands.

However, as soon as the protesters tried to march towards Rajouri Kadal from Jami Masjid, forces used tear gas canisters to disperse them thereby resulted in the clashes.

The protesters were demanding immediate release of Mirwaiz and end to the ban on offering prayers in the historical Jamia Masjid.

Clashes were on-going when the report was last filed.

Meanwhile, Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam, media advisor of Hurriyat Conference (m) condemned the use of force against unarmed protesters and said that the use of force on a peaceful protest is ‘unfortunate’.

He said, “the practice to disallow prayers in Jamia 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,” he said adding, “Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is not only a political activist but also a head preacher.”

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