Srinagar: For the first time, the historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar remained closed on Friday on the occasion of 'Jummat-ul-Vida', the last Friday of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, due to strict restrictions imposed by the authorities.
Except for mosques and shrines in seven police station areas of Srinagar, prayers were held in rest of Kashmir to mark Jummat-ul-Vida with religious fervour and gaiety.
The restrictions were imposed in seven police station areas of Srinagar this morning to thwart protests after Friday prayers on the call of separatists against the killing of a civilian on Thursday during a clash between stone-pelters and security forces in the wake of the killing of three militants in Pulwama district of south Kashmir.
"Friday prayers could not be offered at Jamia Masjid and several other mosques in areas where restrictions were imposed as a precuationary measure to maintain law and order," an official said.
The restrictions around the Jamia Masjid were strengthened in the wake of the lynching of DSP Mohammad Ayub Pandith outside the mosque on Thursday night.
Pandith was stripped and stoned to death by a mob while the 'Shab-e-Qadr' prayers were being offered inside the mosque.
There were reports of clashes between stone-pelting mobs and security forces after Friday prayers in some areas of the valley, including Sopore and Hajin in north Kashmir and Anantnag and Pulwama townships in south Kashmir but there was no report of any casualty, officials said.
Criticising restrictions on the movement of people, moderate Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, "it is for the first time in the living memory of people that they are being barred from offering 'Jummat-ul-Vida prayers' at Jamia Masjid by the authorities.
"For the whole year, Muslims of the Valley wait to offer prayers in Jamia Masjid on this most important last Friday of the holiest month of Ramazan to earn reward and seek forgiveness of their almighty. And even that right has been snatched from us."
Mirwaiz, who is the head priest of the Jamia Masjid, delivers sermons at the mosque every Friday after prayers.
Hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani also condemned the authorities for stopping people from offering Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid.
"Sealing of Jamia Masjid, laying restrictions and placing resistance leadership under house arrest is unacceptable and unjustified," Geelani said.
Criticising the state administration for their "double dealing and fascist mindset", Geelani said, "On one hand, huge expenses are being incurred and special provisions are being made to facilitate (Amarnath) yatra and on the other, curfew-like restrictions are imposed and people barred from offering prayers even on Jummat-ul-Vida."
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Updated Date: Jun 24, 2017 00:15:52 IST