Permit Friday Prayers In Jamia First, Then Muharram Procession: Agha Ruhullah Suggests Govt

SRINAGAR: National Conference’s vocal Shia leader, Agha Ruhullah Mehdi has suggested to the Jammu and Kashmir administration that they must first permit the Friday congregation in the Jamia Masjid before the Muharram mourning procession is permitted after three decades. He has dished out a series of tweets after the newsbreak that the government is undoing the decades-old ban.

Muharram procession in Srinagar on Sunday, August 30, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Ruhullah actually issued seven tweets. “There is list of decisions-taken in circulation, in which, if my reading of this order is correct, the administration has decided to allow the 10th Moharram procession from Abiguzar to Lal Chowk (a temporary & alternate route proposed in 2018) after a gap of 30 years,” the first tweet reads. “This decision has come at the time when the Administration has called off Amarnath yatra. Eid prayers this year were not allowed at Jama Masjid & other important places imposing the Disaster Management Act.”

Police used a tear gas canisters to quell the mourners This picture was taken on October 1, 2017. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

He adds: “Only few days ago the IGP Kmr told people to celebrate Eid “at their homes” invoking Covid protocols. The Friday prayers at Jama Masjid have not been allowed for the last more than 100 Fridays & continue to be banned, again invoking Covid 19 protocols. The list goes on.”

In this backdrop, the NC leader, who has been a former minister as well, raised questions: “Given the fact that all other major religious gatherings (with no exception to any particular religion) continue to be banned. This sudden isolated decision about 10th Moharram procession from Abiguzar to Lal Chowk, after a gap of 30 years, raises more questions than it answers.”

In this backdrop, he has made a suggestion. “To answer those questions and to make it clear that there are no nefarious designs behind this decision, this 10th Moharram procession should be preceded by Friday prayers at Jama Masjid before this 10th Moharram. Friday prayers before this year’s 10th Moharram should precede,” Ruhullah tweeted. He has said the permitted one of the religious activity while keeping all others banned seems “bait” and a “trap”.

The news of the procession being permitted was formally announced by Imran Raja Ansari of the Apni Party. He has thanked the government for the permission and asked various religious personalities to join the procession.

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