The Friday That Came After 5 Fridays

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Saima Bhat

SRINAGAR

Jamia Masjid can accommodate more than 33,333 people for prayers at one time -- Photo:Bilal Bahadur.

Jamia Masjid can accommodate more than 33,333 people for prayers at one time.Photo:Bilal Bhadur.

Today is the first “normal” Friday after the parliament convict Muhammad Afzal Guru was hanged and buried in Tihar jail, Delhi on February 9. After five successive Fridays today neither government has imposed any curfew or restrictions nor have separatists announced any strike. Traffic is plying normally, schools are open, business units and offices are functional.

Several Mosques including historical Jamia Masjid, Srinagar remained out of bounds for people for last five Fridays. Amid curfew and strict restrictions people were forced to remain inside their homes on the last five Fridays. No congregational prayers were allowed in any central Mosques and tight deployment of police and paramilitary forces stopped people even to move out.

“It feels like something different today. It is Friday and everything is normal outside Jamia Masjid but there is a heavy deployment of forces. Let’s see if we are allowed to pray there ”, says a local mesmerizingly.

It is pertinent to mention that Afzal Guru was hanged on February 9 and the whole Kashmir was put under strict curfew by authorities for maintaining the law and order. When the situation was trying to get normal, Mudasir Ahmad Malla was found hanging in his hostel room in Hyderabad on the intervening night of March 2-3.

After Mudasir’s death, Tahir Rasool Sofi who was killed allegedly by army on March 5 in Baramulla. Kashmir was again on boil and was kept under seize, an easy tactics found by government to keep the situation ‘calm’

After Tahir was killed, two Fidayeens attacked the residential quarters of CRPF at Bemina on March 13 in which 5 CRPF men and 2 militants were killed. On the same day Altaf Ahmad Wani was allegedly killed in Saidapora by same battalion of CRPF. It was reportedly said that the men from same battalion were rushing to the hospital to donate blood for their injured men. All this resulted in one more curfewed Friday.

Today, five Fridays later, there is no strike call given by MMM or any other separatist group neither authorities clamped any restrictions. However, heavy deployment of forces was reported on all roads leading to historic Jamia Masjid but locals are expecting that they will be allowed to open the gates of Jamia Masjid today.

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