War of words over closure of Jamia mosque in Srinagar

Srinagar,  Amid counter claims, the managing body of Kashmir’s grand mosque Jamia Masjid Srinagar, Anjuman Auqaf on Wednesday said after “closing” the mosque and “not allowing” the Shab-e-Baraat congregational prayers, it was unfortunate that authorities were denying any such action.

Anjuman alleged that the government officials locked the gates of the Jamia Tuesday evening and “barred” Shab-e-Baraat prayers at the mosque. Last evening, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti criticized the move and termed the “locking” of the mosque a “brazen violation of fundamental rights.”

“Locking up Jama Masjid Srinagar on the auspicious occasion of Shab e Barat is a brazen violation of fundamental rights & religious freedom guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. May Allah Ta’aala give us strength to get through these tough times….,” she tweeted on Tuesday evening.

J&K police reacted to Mufti’s tweet and asked her not to spread rumours about Jamia mosque closure.

“ It clarified that Administration & Police has nothing to do with night prayers on occasion of Shab-e-Barat Prayers not taking place in Jamia Masjid today. Neither any orders for disallowing was given nor it was executed by Administration/Police. Kindly don’t spread rumours,” Srinagar police tweeted.

On Wednesday, Anjuman said that it was extremely unfortunate that after “closing down” the Jamia Masjid at 5:30 PM and not allowing the Shab e Barat prayers, the authorities are denying any such action.

“If it was not personnel from local police station who visited the premise and locked the gates then who were they, it needs to be asked,” Anjuman said in a statement.

It added that infact these police personnel expressed “personal regret” at “doing” so, but said that they are carrying out “orders” of the district administration.”

“Anjuman said as no written order is ever given to them by the authorities whenever they lockdown the Masjid , it is most likely for this reason that it is easy for authorities later to deny it,” the Anjuman statement added.

Shab-e-Baraat (night of salvation) is observed on the 15th night of the Shabaan month of the Islamic calendar.