Srinagar: The historic Jamia Masjid in the Old City reopened for congregational prayers on Friday, almost four months after it was shut down due to the spread of coronavirus.
According to reports, hundreds of devotees turned up at the 16th-century mosque located in Nowhatta area of the Old City to participate in the congregational Friday prayers after a gap of over four months. A sizable number of women devotees also attended Friday prayers held for the first time since April this year.
Reports said that paramilitary CRPF men and cops were deployed in large numbers around the central mosque, considered to be a bastion of detained Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, to meet any possible law and order situation.
Meanwhile, Anjuman Auqaf, the management of Jamia Masjid said that all arrangements were put in place to ensure Covid SOPs were observed by the devotees attending the prayers.
According to an Anjuman spokesperson, Imam Hai Moulana Syed Ahmed Naqshbandi expressed happiness over the resumption of prayers but lamented that since the past two years Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir has been “arbitrarily” detained at his house by the state authorities, and is not even allowed to visit Jama Masjid to deliver the Friday sermon- which people are longing to hear and participate in.
“This is causing people great hurt and anguish. It is the centuries old tradition of Mirwaizeen-e-Kashmir, who delivers the unique Friday sermon from the pulpit of the Jamia Masjid,” Imam Hai said, as per Anjuman spokesperson.
“By keeping the pulpit forcibly empty by detaining Mirwaiz, authorities are deliberately hurting the sentiments of the Muslims of the Valley,” he added.
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