Lift siege around Srinagar’s Jamia mosque, demands Mufti

November 11th, 2010 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Nov 11 (IANS) Former chief minister and patron of main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mufti Mohammad Sayeed lashed out at the Omar Abdullah government for not allowing Friday prayers at the Jamia mosque in Srinagar.

In a hard-hitting statement in Jammu Thursday, Sayeed said that “banning ‘jumma’ (Friday) prayers was an unprecedented assault on people’s liberties”.

For the past 10 weeks, Friday prayers have not been held in the mosque. The main address at the mosque is delivered on Fridays by Kashmir’s chief cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who also is chairperson of the separatist conglomerate All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

The government has placed restrictions in the areas around the grand mosque in summer capital Srinagar because of the stone-throwing incidents. The areas are infamous for being the epicentre of stone throwers.

Mufti Sayeed said “this only compounded the crimes of the government which has the blood of hundreds of innocents on its hands”. He said the present government “all credibility” was “using state power to deny the people their fundamental right of prayers without caring for the sentiments involved”.

“The artificial sense of normalcy created at the point of gun has only added to the choking sense of siege among the people,” he said, adding that this could “find even more dangerous expressions than we have known”. “The false ‘all is well’ impression sought to be created by the present dispensation was coming at a heavy price for the country as a whole as no where else has Friday prayers been banned for ten consecutive weeks even in face of grave situations.”

“It is unimaginable and unpardonable in any democratic system to deny people the right to gather for religious duties or put leaders under house arrest to deny them freedom to practise religion. Combined with the repeated recourse to restrictions on political and religious leaders, Kashmir was a virtual prison where every body’s life and dignity, freedom of speech and religion was seriously compromised through misuse of state power,” he said.

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