No prayers at Jamia Masjid for 4th Friday
Interference In Religion: Mirwaiz; Lift Curbs Or Face Consequences: Grand Mufti
Srinagar, July 23: Condemning the restrictions on congregational Friday prayers at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid for the fourth consecutive week, the Grand Mufti of Kashmir, Mufti Bashir-ud-din, on Friday termed it as “infringement on the peoples’ fundamental religious rights.” The Mufti warned that if the restrictions on prayers were in place next Friday, he would issue an edict asking people to break the curfew and enter Masjids forcefully.
Due to curfew and restrictions on Fridays, prayers couldn’t be held at the historic Jamia Masjid in old city here and other Masjids in different towns and districts for the past one month. “The authorities must lift the restrictions and allow people to enter Jamia Masjid and other Masjids. It (restriction) is nothing but interference in our religious affairs. We will not tolerate this any longer,” Mufti Bashir-ud-din told Greater Kashmir. “India is a democratic country and everybody has a fundamental right to exercise his religious obligation. Any restrictions whatsoever are violation of this fundamental right.”
Mufti, who is also the president of Itihad-e-Millat, said that he would also consult other Ulema and Muftis of the Valley on the issue.
“I will convene a meeting and discuss with them the strategy to respond to the prevailing situation. If restrictions continue like this, we many ask people to break the curfew and enter Masjids forcefully,” he said.
In 2008, during and after the Amarnath land agitation, authorities in a similar fashion imposed restrictions on civilian movement on Fridays and barred people from offering congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid.
Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference (M), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is also the chief cleric of Jamia Masjid, also condemned the restrictions on the Friday prayers saying the government was “willfully usurping the people’s rights to fulfill a religious obligation” on Fridays. “To bar people from offering prayers at gunpoint is highly condemnable. It is undemocratic and unconstitutional. “We urge the Organization of the Islamic Conference to take serious notice of the curbs on religious freedom, and killings and arrests of people here,” said Mirwaiz, who was put under house arrest on the past four consecutive Fridays.
Meanwhile, the Grand Mufti urged the state government to release all the detainees, especially those arrested in the past few weeks. He demanded release of Syed Ali Geelani, Shabir Shah, Yasin Malik, Nayeem Khan, Qazi Yasir, Ashraf Sehrai, Mian Abdul Qayoom and others.
He also demanded the release of Afzal Guru, convicted in the parliament attack case.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 23 Jul 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 23 Jul 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 24 Jul 2010 00:00:00 IST
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