Friday Prayers Allowed At Grand Mosque After 8 Weeks12 November 2010
Srinagar: For the first time in eight weeks, no curfew was imposed in the Old Srinagar to allow Friday prayers at the historic Grand Mosque. State police however prevented Chief Cleric of the Kashmir valley from attending the prayers and kept him under house arrest for fear of anti-India protests. Tens of thousands of people offered Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque after authorities decided not to impose curfew in Srinagar city. A police spokesman said the decision follows the overall improvement in the law and order situation in the Kashmir Valley. Earlier an apex body of Muslim clerics had threatened to issue a Fatwa (Edict) against government for barring Muslims from offering Friday congregational prayers at Grand Mosque and numerous other major mosques, shrines and Imambargahs of Kashmir since Eid-al Fitr. At Grand mosque prayers were led by Syed Ahmad Naqshbandi also called as Imam Hai. Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Kashmir valley's chief priest, who delivers weekly sermons at the 16th century sprawling mosque was placed under house arrest. Imam Hai prayed for freedom of Kashmir and denounced government for placing curbs on Mirwaiz. A large procession emerged out of the Grand Mosque after the weekly prayers, with the worshippers holding pro-freedom demonstrations and decrying the curbs on the Mirwaiz. A number of Hurriyat leaders, including Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabbir Ahmad Shah and Maulana Masroor Abbas Ansari, were kept under house arrest.