Anjuman-e-Auqaf (AeA) Jamia Masjid, Srinagar, today said the presence of security forces in large numbers around the historic Masjid, which is the spiritual centre of lakhs of Kashmiris, was "damaging its centrality and sanctity".
"During the fasting of month of Ramadan and especially onFridays, thousands of people from across the Valley including far off districtsreach the historic Jamia Masjid to listen to the Friday sermon and to seekblessings of Almighty Allah, and offer Friday prayers. But the presence ofsecurity forces in large numbers around the Masjid creates an atmosphere offear among the worshipers. Use of live ammunition against the devotees afterFriday congregation triggered chaos all around," a spokesman of the AeA JamiaMasjid said in statement.
"The Anjuman has time and again called on the administrationto ensure no deployment of forces around Jamia Masjid on Fridays, but thefrequent pleas seems to be falling on the deaf ears as forces remain deployedin large numbers as seen on first Friday of the holy month," the statementread.
The Anjuman spokesman said, "the way prayers are heldpeacefully in Kashmir's major shrines, Masjids and Imam Baras with zerodeployment of government forces, same model should be applied for Jamia as wellso that people offer prayers in a free and peaceful atmosphere."