Kashmir Indepth

Remove forces, stop use of drones outside masjid on Fridays: Jamia Imam to Authorities

Asks Ulema to raise voice to seek Mirwaiz’s release; Let Auqaf give in writing there would be no protests after prayers, we will lift forces: top police official

Srinagar, Dec 03 : Imam of Jamia Masjid Srinagar Syed Ahmed Naqshbandi popularly known as Imam-e-Hai on Friday triggered a controversy by asking the authorities to remove the security deployment and use of drones outside the Central masjid on Fridays.

He said that the deployment of security forces around Jamia Masjid on Fridays and the use of drones by police creates an atmosphere of fear among the worshippers who come from far off places of Kashmir to offered congregational prayers at the grand masjid.

“We have been repeatedly asking the authorities to do away with the deployment of security forces outside the Jamia on Fridays, but they have not paid any need to our request. Now the use of drones has added to the already fearful atmosphere outside the Jamia Masjid on Fridays,” Naqshbandi said while addressing Friday congregational gathering at the Jamia here.

He said not just the people of Srinagar, but from every district come to the historic Jamia masjid to offer Friday congregational prayers as they have emotional and spiritual attachment with the masjid. “But unfortunately, security deployment and drones flying in the air create an atmosphere of fear and prevent people from reaching the Jamia,” Naqshbandi said.

He also urged Ulema and other religious clerics across Kashmir to raise voice and to seek release of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq from house detention. Mirwaiz is caged at his Nigeen residence since August 5.

A top police officer, however, told that let Anjuman-e-Auqaf Jamia Masjid Srinagar given in writing that there would no protest or clashes after prayers on Fridays, security would be lifted from the area. “Let us get the written assurance from Auqaf, we will remove the deployment from the area,” he said.

Pertinently, on December 20, Friday prayers were allowed at the Jamia masjid after a gap of 19 weeks in the wake of curbs imposed across Kashmir following Centre’s decision of scrapping Article 370 and to bifurcate the erstwhile State into two Union territories—J&K and Ladakh. Since then three Friday prayers were held at the Central masjid. (KNO)

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