Kashmir - Friday prayers prevented in Jama Masjid

Jammu and Kashmir police on December 22 said it was “forced” to impose curbs on Friday prayers at historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar’s old city as politics can’t be allowed at religious places.

“Worship places are meant for performing religious obligations, not politics. Some people can’t be allowed to hijack Jamia Masjid. The area is placed under curfew not the Masjid”, says Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, S M Sahai, during a seminar ‘Youth, Media and Democracy’ organized by All India Centre for Urban and Rural Development (AICURD) and sponsored by 21 BN CRPF at the College of Education, here.

Describing killings during recent unrest here as unfortunate, the IGP Kashmir in response to a query said “these killings shouldn’t have taken place. Youth have been arrested as they were involved in creating problems. Unemployed youth are mostly involved in it”. Reacting to this statement, chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on December 24 said “Islam doesn’t treat politics and Islam as separate entities. Muslim scholars and clerics are bound to raise issues relevant to society in their sermons”. Pertinently, authorities allowed Mirwaiz to attend Friday congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid on December 24 after he was kept under house arrest for several weeks. “The position of valley’s top Islamic leader (Mirwaiz) doesn’t represent an individual but a movement. It is unfortunate that government has brought officers from outside who have no idea about these realities. The government should educate them about our age old traditions and culture”, says the spokesman of the conglomerate.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 January 2011 on page no. 15

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