This Friday, locked Jamia gates doubled as wickets

Srinagar
Ahead of the call given by Joint Resistance Leadership on Friday Jamia Masjid Srinagar was gain locked by government forces to prevent the people to assemble at Jamia Masjid and to protest. With the entire belt closed from all sides, the cops were seen actually playing cricket outside the grand mosque.

All the roads leading to the historic mosque was sealed by rolls of concertina wires and no one was allowed to cross the barricades. At various places, the employees on way to their offices were showing their identity cards to cross the barriers.

Hurriyat (m) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house detention on Thursday night.

The government announced restrictions in parts of the city in follow up to the call by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) for post-Friday protests against the civilian killings. The restrictions, which are “a notch less than curfew” were imposed in areas falling under almost half a dozen police stations which actually make the main Srinagar city.

Police men deployed on imposing “restrictions” in old Srinagar city, playing cricket on the road outside Jamia Masjid on Friday, December 22, 2017. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Reports who visited the grand mosque for routine coverage of the praying space found the entire belt under literal curfew where concertina wiring barricades had emerged overnight. There were scores of policemen guarding the cross-sections. The cops were permitting individuals with ‘valid reasons’ to move but most of the people and the vehicles were completely off the roads.

However, what was interesting was the sight of cops playing cricket at the main gate of the grand mosque. Photographs clicked from the spot suggest the police team in perfect order with the officer holding the bat. The routine shouting, which is part of the game within and outside the stadium, was the only aberrations to the silence that literally ruled the belt.

Policemen deployed on imposing “restrictions” in old Srinagar city, playing cricket on the road outside Jamia Masjid on Friday, December 22, 2017. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

The sight is said to be a rare one because the same spot has been the source of main tension in the belt. Usually, it remains massively dominated by the police and paramilitary personnel, even during the routine days and, in certain cases, during the nights as well.The two sides, the police, and the youth, have remained engaged in a cat and mouse game for many decades now. The mistrust exhibited itself quite ruthlessly one night this year when some youth mistook a police officer as an army man and lynched him.

Police men deployed on imposing “restrictions” in old Srinagar city, playing cricket on the road outside Jamia Masjid on Friday, December 22, 2017. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Though the game of cricket during restrictions on Friday outside the historic Jamia Masjid may not be a huge change-maker in perception or reality, it definitely does offer the lighter rare another side of the picture.

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