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Restrictions on Friday prayers in Valley's big mosques continue

Press Trust of India  |  Srinagar 

Jamia Masjid, the grand mosque of Kashmir in the city's Nowhatta area, remained locked up for congregational prayers for the 15th consecutive Friday since the Centre announced abrogation of provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5.

The gates of the historic mosque were shut and security forces' personnel deployed in strength in the area, officials said.

They said there are apprehensions that vested interests might exploit large Friday prayer gatherings at big mosques and shrines to fuel protests in the Valley over the revocation of the erstwhile state's special status.

Friday prayers have not been allowed at the centuries-old mosque in the city's downtown area for over three months now.

While the weekly prayers have been allowed at Hazratbal Shrine, the authorities barred huge congregations by restricting the movement of people towards the shrine by placing barbed wires on various routes.

On Sunday, authorities sealed all routes leading to the shrine on the banks of Dal Lake here to prevent large gatherings and processions on the occasion of Eid-Milad-Un-Nabi.

Before that, the authorities had prohibited the traditional Khojje-Digar prayers at Naqshbandh Sahab shrine in Khawajabazar area of the city.

Meanwhile, markets opened for a few hours early in the morning at most places across the Valley, but shopkeepers downed their shutters around noon to join a protest against the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, the officials said.

They said traffic on Friday was lesser as compared to Thursday, even as a few mini-buses, cabs and auto-rickshaws were plying in the city and elsewhere in the Valley.

Board examinations for class 10th and Class 12 are going on as per schedule, they added.

Internet services across all platforms continued to be suspended in Kashmir for the 103rd day on Friday.

The authorities snapped all communication lines landline telephones, mobile phone services and internet across all platforms -- on August 5, hours before the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and to bifurcate the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.

While landline telephones were gradually restored first, post-paid mobile services were resumed later. However, pre-paid mobile and internet services are yet to be resumed.

Most of the top level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders including two former chief ministers -- Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti -- have been either detained or placed under house arrest.

The government has detained former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah under the controversial Public Safety act, a law enacted by his father and National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1978 when he was the chief minister.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, November 15 2019. 18:10 IST
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