For the 18th consecutive Friday, no Friday prayers were held at Jamia Masjid. While the police claimed that there were no curbs in place around the historic Masjid, the Anjuman-e-Auqaf said until security forces were removed from all entry and exit gates, no prayers will be held at the Masjid.
According to an Auqaf member, this was for the first time after 2016 that the grand masjid has been closed for congregational prayers for 18 consecutive Fridays.
"In 2016, there were no prayers for 16 consecutive Fridays. Thisyear, no Friday prayers have been held for 18 consecutive weeks since August 5.This is the longest siege since 2016," said a senior Auqaf member, wishing notto be named.
The Masjid was closed for the devotees on August 5, whengovernment of India abrogated special status of Jammu and Kashmir andbifurcated the erstwhile State into two Union Territories (UTs).
A senior police officer said there were no restrictions imposed inNowhata and around Jamia Masjid.
"Since the 15th week there were no curbs in place. We conveyed thedecision to Auqaf also," the police officiall said, wishing not to be named.
However another senior member of Auqaf said security forces weredeployed at the entry and exit gates of Masjid.
"It adds to fear. Theforces should be withdrawn from the area so that people can move freely," hesaid.