No ban on prayers at Jamia masjid, claims police

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Srinagar: There was no ban on prayers at historic Jamia masjid in the down town Srinagar, a senior police officer claimed on Saturday.

However, a member of the Jamia masjid committee questioned the police claim, saying there was no information that restrictions around the worship place have been lifted and people can offer prayers there.

“I could see Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF), holding automatic weapons, deployed near the Jamia masjid when I visited the area on Friday,” he said.

He said no prayers could be offered in the Masjid since August 5 morning due to restrictions. “Last prayers in the masjid were offered on August 4 night,” he said, adding CPMF remained deployed and all gates remained closed.

Neither police nor district administration informed the Jamia committee that restrictions have been lifted in the area and people can offer prayers, he said, adding the head of the committee Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq also remained under house arrest since August 5.

A group of media persons who visited the area on Saturday morning saw all the four main gates of the Jamia Masjid locked. The Jamia market also remained closed. CPMF remained deployed outside the masjid, stronghold of Mirwaiz, who is also chairman of the moderate Hurriyat Conference (HC). A security force vehicle has been parked near the main gate from Nowhatta side while CPMF are deployed from Gojwara side.

Business and other activities in the downtown and Shehar-e-Khas (SeK) remained affected on Saturday and public transport remained off the roads since August 5. However, some three wheelers and private vehicles, including two wheelers, were seen plying.