Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid.

By Ishfaq-ul-Hassan / India Tomorrow

SRINAGAR—Jammu and Kashmir disallowed prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid on Shab-e-Qadr and Juma-tul-Vida.

No reason was given for disallowing namaaz, though sources said the administration apprehended the law and order problem. On April 8, anti-national and provocative slogans were raised inside Jamia Masjid after Friday prayers. Later, 13 people were arrested by the Police.

Anjuman Auqaf said government and police officers visited Jamia Masjid to convey the administration’s decision not to allow congregational prayers on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.

“The Authorities also decided that no prayers or ‘shab’ be allowed on Shab-e-Qadr at the Jamia Masjid. Anjuman strongly denounces this decision of the authorities,” Auqaf said in a statement.

Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU), an umbrella group of clerics and Islamic organizations, expressed strong resentment over the administration’s decision.

“The religious sentiments of millions of people of Jammu and Kashmir are connected with the Jamia Masjid Srinagar, which is the centre of guidance and spirituality. Muslims of the region have an emotional attachment with the centuries-old grand mosque,” MMU said in a statement.

Moreover, MMU said, during the holy month of Ramadan, people from various districts of the valley turn to this historic place of worship and prostrate before Allah Almighty. However, the administration’s decision has deeply hurt the sentiments of the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) said the move is unacceptable and reprehensible. “It will bar thousands of people from offering congregational prayers inside the historic mosque. It amounts to direct interference in the people’s religious matters,” PAGD spokesman and CPI(M) leader MY Tarigami said.

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah said the government’s decision belied the claims of normalcy. “If the government claims the situation is normal, then why the prayers have been disallowed at the historic Jamia Masjid?” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, on Thursday visited Dargah Hazratbal, Khanqah-e-Moula, and Jamia Masjid Nowhatta in Srinagar city to review arrangements for the devotees.

Chief Secretary exhorted the concerned departments to ensure all their respective tasks are accomplished with the highest degree of responsibility so that devotees visiting the shrines don’t face any hardship on this account. He interacted with Auqaf members at the shrines and enquired from them about the arrangements that have been put in place for the convenience of the devotees.

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