Historic Jamia Masjid reopens for first time since August 5

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by Saif Ullah Bashir

Srinagar

After 136 days, the historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of Srinagar re-opened for prayers for the first time on Wednesday since August 5.

Nimaz “Zhur” being offered in the historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta Srinagar after 136 days on Wednesday 18 December 18, 2019. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

The call for Zuhr prayers surprised the residents living around the area. At least 100 worshippers attend the prayers which were led by Mufti Ghulam Rasool in the afternoon.

For the past 19 consecutive Fridays, the prayers have not been held in the grand mosque after strict restrictions were imposed across Kashmir. Locals believe the recent closure was the longest at the 13th-century mosque since India’s independence in 1947.

The authorities lifted restrictions on prayers in November. “We decided to clean the mosque today (Wednesday) and conducted Zuhr and Asr(afternoon) prayers for the first time after the abrogation of article 370,” said a member of Auqaf Committee Jamia Masjid.

“I was sitting at home when I heard the azan coming from the Jamia Masjid. I came running to offer prayers here for the first time since August 5.,” said a local.

“I am so happy and thank God, this place is again open for worshippers,” he said.

The Auqaf committee has decided to hold congregational prayers on Friday in the mosque.

“If all goes well, there will be Friday congregational prayers at the historic masjid on the coming Friday,” a member of Auqaf committee said.

Reports quoting officials as saying that there were no curbs for holding prayers since last month while Auqaf had been maintaining that prayers won’t be held until forces are removed from all gates and masjid surroundings.

On August 5, centre ended special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the constitution and split it into two union territories. Thousands including Hurriyat leaders such as chief cleric of Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were taken into custody by authorities.

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