Srinagar - There was no ban on prayers at historic Jamia masjid in the down town Srinagar, a senior police officer claimed on Saturday.
However, a member of the Jamia masjid committee questioning the police claim, saying there was no information that restrictions around the worship place have been lifted and people can offer prayers there.
"I could see Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF), holding automatic weapons, deployed near the Jamia masjid when I visited the area on Friday," he said.
He said no prayers could be offered in the Masjid since August 5 morning due to restrictions. "Last prayers in the masjid were offered on August 4 night," he said, adding CPMF remained deployed and all gates remained closed.
Neither police or district administration informed the Jamia committee that restrictions have been lifted in the area and people can offer prayers, he said, adding the head of the committee Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq also remained under house arrest since August 5.
A group of media persons who visited the area on Saturday morning saw all the four main gates of the Jamia Masjid locked. The Jamia market also remained closed. CPMF remained deployed outside the masjid, stronghold of Mirwaiz, who is also chairman of the moderate Hurriyat Conference (HC). A security force vehicle has been parked near the main gate from Nowhatta side while CPMF are deployed from Gojwara side.
Business and other activities in the downtown and Shehar-e-Khas (SeK) remained affected on Saturday and public transport remained off the roads since August 5. However, some three wheelers and private vehicles, including two wheelers, were seen plying
'Allow us to clean mosque, remove forces from area'
A day after Jammu and Kashmir police stated that there were no curbs in Jamia Masjid areas and Anjuman-e-Auqaf was free to hold Friday congregational gatherings prayers at the Jamia masjid, Anjuman-e-Auqaf Jamia Masjid, the managing body of the grand mosque Saturday said that the authorities should remove security forces from Jamia surroundings and allow the Auqaf to purify the masjid and check the audio system in advance so that people can come and offer prayers at ease.
In a written statement sent to the wire service-Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the Anjuman said that it expresses serious concern over the curbs imposed in and around Jamia Masjid since past 16 Fridays and that stresses upoun that there should be no security presence at any gate of the masjid so that an atmosphere is created where in people can throng the historic masjid without any fear.
"We urge the authorities to lift the siege around Jamia Masjid, and allow the Auqaf to clean the masjid and conduct purification of the masjid and to check the audio system that has been defunct since past over three and a half months," read the statement.
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