Mufti Azam asks people to protest
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Dec 5: Due to undeclared curfew, no congregational prayers were offered at the historic Jamia Masjid for the fifth consecutive Friday in old city evoking strong resentment among the people, pro-freedom camp and religious leaders. The Mufti Azam Kashmir, Mufti Bashir-ud-Din, while condemning the government’s move pronounced fatwa asking people to protest what he termed as religions infringement.
Eyewitness said though Muazzin gave Friday prayer call in the Masjid, a large contingent of troopers of CRPF and police sealed all the gates of the mosque and did not allow anybody to assemble there.
“We went to offer prayers at Jamia Masjid, however the troopers chased us away. Now the authorities have deprived us from performing our religious obligations,” Ghulam Nabi of Nowhatta said. He said troopers did not even allow women to offer prayers inside the mosque.
Eyewitnesses said an aged woman Mughli of Safa Kadal pleaded before the troopers to let her offer prayers. “But the request met with deaf ears as all the mosque gates were closed by the troopers.
Mufti Azam Bashir-ud-Din termed the restriction as a shameful act.
“It is a blot on the face of India’s democracy to stop people from offering prayers. History will never forget the government’s autocratic move. Politics should not be linked with religion. According to shariah, it is the duty of Muslims to rise to the occasion and resist any move to stop them from performing the religious duties,” Mufti told Greater Kashmir.
“I pronounce fatwa against the government’s undemocratic and un-Islamic move and ask Muslims to protest against the government’s move to stop them from performing religious obligations. Our elders valiantly resisted the restrictions on offering prayers in Jamia Masjid during the Sikh rule and emerged victorious,” he added.
Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who leads the Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid came down heavily on the Government for what he said making infringement into religious affairs of Kashmiris.
“We had already warned the Government of a fatwa by Ulema if it stopped people from offering prayers at Jamia Masjid. People were harassed and ruthlessly beaten by troopers when they proceeded to offer prayers at the historic mosque,” Mirwaiz, who also heads the Awami Action Committee, said.
Refuting the allegations, a government spokesman said the administration started making arrangements for Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid, right from the morning including easing restrictions in Nowhatta area.
“The Muazzin pronounced the Friday Azaan and people gathered inside the Masjid. However, some activists of the Awami Action Committee forced them to leave the Masjid and did not allow them to offer Friday prayers, arguing that the Friday prayers shall not be held at Jamia Masjid unless Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was released from house arrest,” he claimed.
“In view of the Coordination Committee call, the administration had taken some preventive measures including enforcement of prohibitory orders under Section 144 Cr.PC to ensure protection of life and property of the people,” he added.
But police in a separate statement said: “Some anti social elements forced the people assembled there to leave and did not allow them to hold prayers.”http://www.greaterkashmir.com/full_story.asp?Date=6_12_2008&ItemID=41&cat=1