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Friday prayers allowed at Hazratbal

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Jama Masjid management flays authorities for not allowing congregational prayers

Srinagar: Authorities on Friday allowed people to offer Friday congregational prayers at Dargah Hazratbal after ten weeks in view of the upcoming Milad-un-Nabi (SAW) festival and decline in COVID-19 infection.

The administration however disallowed assemblage at central Jama Masjid in old city’s Nowhatta area for 11th consecutive week since August 6, 2021 the day Friday prayers were last held in the grand mosque.

Limited numbers of devotees offered congregational prayers at Dargah Hazratbal following Covid-19 SOPs.

Meanwhile, the managing body of Srinagar’s Jama Masjid on Friday claimed that authorities did not allow congregational prayers there by deploying security forces in large numbers.

In a statement, the Anjuman Auqaf Jama Masjid also said that police personnel “forced” employees to close all gates of the mosque and no ‘namazis’ (devotees) were allowed inside.

“Authorities did not allow congregational Friday prayers to be held at the Jama Masjid Srinagar today. Heavy deployment of forces was carried out since early morning in the entire area. When Auqaf employees opened the gates of the mosque, police personnel forced them to close all gates, and no ‘namazis’ (were allowed inside the mosque for offering the obligatory Friday prayers,” the mosque’s managing body said.

A large group of devotees, including women and children, who had gathered outside the mosque, strongly protested this “authoritarian move” and demanded that they be allowed to go inside the mosque to offer prayers, but to no avail, it claimed.

The Anjuman said that the earlier pretext of COVID-19 pandemic by authorities to prevent Muslims from offering Friday prayers at the Jama Masjid stood completely exposed today.

“It is extremely unfortunate and disdainful of authorities to disallow Muslims of the (Kashmir) Valley from praying at the central mosque by use of brute force and cause them hurt and grief. Muslims of the Valley denounce this injustice and interference in religious freedom in strongest terms,” it said.

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