by Saif Ullah Bashir
Friday congregational prayers were offered for the first time since August 5 at the historic Jamia Masjid located in Nowhatta area of downtown Srinagar.
Reports said that at least offered prayers at the mosque. Outsiders were not allowed to ensure that the prayers pass off smoothly.
The grand masjid was opened first time on Wednesday and the prayers were held. This was the first Friday since August 5, when weekly congregational prayers were held at the Jamia Masjid after the Center abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special status Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two union territories.
Reports said hundreds of people offered prayers and immediately after the Friday prayers were over, protests were held in the compound of the Jamia Masjid. Raising slogans and carrying banners, the protesters were seen marching inside the compound of the Masjid. However, the protesters dispersed peacefully later.
They said authorities had pressed in drones to keep an eye on the protesters. In Nowhatta and adjoining areas, authorities had deployed police and paramilitary forces in large numbers to deal with any eventuality.
However, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who would deliver weekly Friday sermons at the Jamia Masjid, continues to remain under house detention at his Nigeen residence since August 5.
Former chief minister Farooq Abdullah was charged under the stringent Public Safety Act. Other former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, whose Peoples Democratic Party are still under detention.