Jamia Masjid in Kashmir holds Friday prayers after 19 weeks

Srinagar: Friday congregational prayers were on Friday allowed at the historic Jamia Masjid for the first time since unrest began in Kashmir in the aftermath of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s killing in an encounter with security forces in July.

The Friday congregational prayers were allowed at Jamia Masjid after 19 weeks. However, the attendance of devotees was thin as the people from adjoining localities only were not able to reach the grand mosque due to non-availability of public transport in view of the strike.

The congregational prayers were last offered at the mosque on July 8, the day Wani was killed, as authorities apprehended law and order problems after the weekly prayers.

No Eid prayers were offered at the grand mosque for the first time in nearly two centuries, as the last time it was closed was in 1821. However, with the improvement in the situation, the prayers were allowed on Friday.

Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who usually delivers sermon before the Friday prayers, was under house arrest and not allowed to visit the mosque.

Immediately after the culmination of the prayers, a group of youth assembled outside and took out a march towards Rajouri Kadal but were intercepted by the security forces, leading to clashes, a police official said. There were no reports of any casualties in the clashes so far, he said.