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Re-opening of Srinagar’s Jama Masjid on anvil

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Div Com, IGP visit mosque to review measures

Srinagar: In an indication of the imminent reopening of the Jama Masjid in Srinagar’s old city area for Friday prayers, senior civil administration and police officials on Monday visited the historic mosque to inspect it, officials said here.

Kashmir’s Divisional Commissioner P K Pole and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar visited the 14th Century mosque in the Nowhatta area, the officials said.

They said Pole and Kumar took stock of the situation and arrangements being made to ensure COVID-appropriate behaviour at the mosque in case the congregational Friday prayers are allowed to resume.

Sources said that the top officers also held a meeting with the office-bearers of Anjuman Auqaf Jama Masjid, the body which manages the affairs of the mosque.

The congregational prayers have not been allowed inside Jama Masjid by authorities for several months now.

Jama Masjid was the only religious place in the Union Territory which was not allowed to open by authorities.

The historic mosque has remained mostly closed for the Friday prayers since August 2019. The eruption of the Covid pandemic also forced the continued closure of the mosque for a long time.

Anjuman Auqaf Jama Masjid has been expressing strong resentment over “disallowing the Friday congregational prayers at the historic mosque for 30 straight weeks now.”

In a recent statement, the Auqaf had termed disallowing the obligatory Muslim prayers at the mosque “extremely regrettable and reprehensible”.

“It is incomprehensible that while the followers of all the religions across the world including Jammu and Kashmir are attending their respective religious places of worship and performing rituals, why are the prayers being disallowed and stopped in the largest place of worship in Kashmir – the Jama Masjid Srinagar which is a great centre and source of Islamic teachings,” the Auqaf said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Srinagar Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu welcomed the “reopening” of the Jama Masjid.

In a tweet he said: “The reopening of the Jamia Masjid is a welcome step in the right direction. Had written to the Hon’ble LG, seeking the reopening of the historic mosque. Hope to be able to pray at the Jamia soon InshaAllah.”

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