No Prayers At Jamia Masjid Srinagar

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SRINAGAR — No Friday prayers were allowed in the historic Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar, where curfew-like restrictions re­mained imposed for the second day in view of strike called by separat­ists against alleged attempts being made to abrogate Article 35-A.

Official sources said that restrictions under Section 144 of CrPc has been imposed within the areas falling under seven po­lice stations of Srinagar district, including Khanyar, Nowhatta, Safakadal, MR Gunj, Rainawari in downtown and Kralkhud in the old town, Maisuma in civil lines to prevent protests.

All the roads leading to Jamia Masjid, where chairman of moder­ate HC Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Fa­rooq, who was placed under house arrest on Wednesday night, ad­dresses congregation every Friday, remained closed with barbed wire.

The Joint Resistance Leader­ship, comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq and Mohammad Yaseen Malik, had called for a two-day strike from Thursday against alleged attempts being made to abrogate the Article, which em­powers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “per­manent residents” of the state. The Article provides special rights and privileges to the per­manent residents of the state.

A large number of security forces and state police personnel remained deployed outside the Masjid and adjoining areas to stop any movement on the roads.

“There was also no ‘Azaan’ (call for prayers) in the historic Masjid today,” local residents said, alleging that nobody was be­ing allowed to enter the area.

However, prayers were offered in the Valley, barring in mosques on main roads in the areas where restrictions were imposed.

Friday prayers were offered at Hazratbal shrine, which houses the holy Relic of Prophet Muham­mad, on the bank of Dal Lake though the number of devotees was again very less as compared to even normal days as people could not come from other parts of the valley fearing trouble.

Reports of offering of Friday prayers were also received from other parts of the valley.

About half a dozen petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court (DC), demanding scrapping of the Article. However, mainstream po­litical parties, including National Conference (NC), Peoples Demo­cratic Party (PDP), Communist Par­ty of India (M), Kashmir Bar Associ­ation, traders and civil society have filed counter petitions, demanding continuation of the Article.

But, the SC again adjourned its hearing on the pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35- A, this time until January 2019.

 

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