Majid Kapra

Traders observe shutdown in Jamia Masjid area against ‘police high-handedness’

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PHOTO/Javed Khan

Srinagar, May 26: Traders and businessmen observed a shutdown today in the old city areas today to protest police high-handedness in and outside the Jamia Masjid yesterday.

Jamia Market Traders Federation (JMTF) and Beopar Mandal Maharajgunj had called for complete shutdown and by peaceful protest at Nowhatta Chowk in old city today against what they alleged “police brutality”.

At least 50 people, including security personnel, were injured in the clashes after Friday congregational prayers yesterday.

Immediately after the congregational prayers, a group of protestors clashed with the police and paramilitary forces, who allegedly fired pellets inside the Jamia Masjid which left scores injured inside the mosque, many of whom are undergoing treatment for pallet injuries at SMHS Hospital.

All shops and other business establishments remained closed in the area in response to the shutdown in protest against “desecration” of the grand mosque.  However the situation remained comparatively calm with no untoward incident reported from anywhere.

Meanwhile, led by JKLF chairman, Mohammad Yasin Malik and Hurriyat-M chairman, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq hundreds of people amid pro-freedom and anti-India slogans took out a protest march from Jama Masjid against yesterday’s police action.

Protesters after marching through different roads and streets again assembled at Jamia market where separatist leaders addressed people.

Condemning the police action which he claimed left hundreds of youth injured at Nowhatta, Mirwaiz warned the government of intense protests in case government continues to deploy forces around grand mosque on Fridays.

He alleged that the government, since 1947, has been persistently trying harming the sanctity of Jamia Masjid which he claimed represents “people’s aspirations”.

“Government wants to harm sanctity of grand mosque under a well thought-out conspiracy since 1947. This mosque is being target every now and then only because it has been the only platform where political affairs of Kashmir issue are discussed,” Mirwaiz said while addressing people.

Mirwaiz said the state government wants to damage the pulpit of Jamia Masjid the way other places were occupied and disconnected for public.

“See how Jamia Masjid and old city is being targeted, they impose curfew and restrictions in entire downtown, lockdown grand mosque and prevent people to worship without any provocation. They deploy forces mainly on Fridays to mobilize youth,” he added.

He said the aim of heavy forces’ deployment in the old city is to provoke youth so that the situation turns volatile.

“They know people are angry over police and forces’ cruelty,  but they still intentionally make Jamia  Masjid a garrison and deploy forces in every nook. If the government continued with deployment and lockdown of Masjids, we will be left with no option than to collectively take to the roads,” warned he.

Meanwhile activists of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) this afternoon assembled at Press Enclave here and held sit-in protest demanding release of all political prisoners lodged in different jails within and outside state.

Carrying banners and placards which read “release all political prisoners, bring all Kashmiri prisoners back to Kashmir” the protesters condemning shifting of prisoners from Srinagar to outside jails.

Kashmir Images
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