Thousands offer Ramadan’s last Friday prayers in Hyderabad

September 26th, 2008 - 8:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Sep 26 (IANS) Thousands of Muslims offered special prayers here and in different parts of Andhra Pradesh to mark the last Friday of holy month of Ramadan.The biggest congregation was at the historic Mecca Masjid where over 100,000 people offered ‘Jumatul vida’ prayers amid tight security arrangements. Thousands offered prayers on the roads around the mosque and the Charminar, the symbol of Hyderabad.

The roads up to a distance of two km were closed for vehicular traffic since morning as the police made elaborate security arrangements to ensure peace. The mosque, one of the biggest in India, was nearly full to its capacity much before the prayers began.

A group of religious people from Egypt recited the holy Quran in their unique style. The clerics exhorted Muslims to continue the pious deeds even after Ramadan for the success in this world and the hereafter.

The police had made elaborate security arrangements around the mosque in view of the recent bomb blasts in Delhi, Ahmedabad and other cities. The devotees had to pass through three layers of metal detectors before entering the mosque. The first layer was installed as far as half-a-km from the mosque. Videographers employed by the police also recorded the movements of people while the surveillance cameras installed inside the mosque were also keeping a vigil.

The 17th century mosque had witnessed a bomb blast during Friday prayers on May 18 last year. Nine people were killed in the blast while the subsequent police firing on protesters near the mosque claimed five more lives.

Muslims, majority of them attired in the traditional kurta-pyjama and wearing a skull cap, also offered prayers in hundreds of other mosques in Hyderabad and its twin city Secunderabad.

Muslims constitute 40 percent of Greater Hyderabad’s seven million population.

‘Jumatul vida’ was also celebrated with religious fervour in other parts of the state.

Huge congregations were witnessed in Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Adilabad, Vijayawada, Kurnool and other towns of the state.

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