No congregational prayers have been allowed for six consecutive Fridays at Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid over apprehensions of protests in reaction to the situation in Gaza, with the mosque’s chief cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest.
A spokesman for the Anjuman Auqaf, the mosque’s caretaker body, said the grand mosque was being targeted and the conflict in Gaza was a convenient excuse.
“While prayers have been banned in Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israel since it launched a war against the Palestinian people, locking down Jama Masjid in Kashmir belies the claims of normalcy made by the administration here,” the spokesman said.
He said the ban on Friday prayers at the Jama Masjid and undue restrictions on the Mirwaiz “hurt the religious sentiments of the Muslims of Kashmir”.
“The authorities should revise their decision and allow prayers at the grand mosque and let Mr. Farooq carry out his religious duties as the Mirwaiz of Kashmir,” the spokesman said.