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India unlocks Kashmir grand mosque after 19 weeks


Srinagar: After 19 weeks, Indian authorities on Friday allowed people to offer Friday congregational prayers at historic Jamia Masjid in summer capital here while shutdown continues across the Valley amid clashes during which a top police officer was injured, according to Kashmir Observer.
The Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid was locked since July 15 for Friday prayers as mass uprising erupted across the Valley in the wake of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8. Fearing large scale protests, the authorities continuously imposed restrictions and curfew to prevent people from offering Friday prayers at the historic mosque.
However this Friday, the authorities did not place the mosque and its adjoining areas under siege and allowed the people to offer Friday prayers smoothly. According to eyewitnesses, several thousand people offered the Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid today. However, Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who delivers the sermon at the mosque, was kept under house arrest.
The prayers were led by Imam Naqashbandi and he also delivered the mandatory sermon. He condemned the siege of mosque and termed it interference in religious matters. As he was delivering the sermon, hundreds of people shouted pro-Islam, pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
Soon after prayers were over, a huge procession was taken out from the mosque and the demonstrators were holding flags and banners of Pakistan and ‘Azad’ Kashmir. The protesters shouted slogans in favour of Islam, Azadi and persons killed in the ongoing uprising.

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