Authorities Continue to Block Friday Prayers in IIOJKDecember 8, 2023
In a disheartening continuation of a trend, the authorities in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir have once again prevented the observance of Juma prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar for the ninth consecutive week. Adding to the repression, senior All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq remains under house arrest at his residence.
The Anjuman Auqaf of the Jamia Masjid, in a recent statement, revealed that the police authorities prohibited the Anjuman from opening the mosque’s gates for Juma prayers, marking an extended period of denial for worshippers. This repeated closure has sparked frustration and condemnation from the Anjuman, characterizing it as a display of authorities’ desperation.
The authorities cite concerns that the Juma congregation might transform into an anti-India and anti-Israel demonstration, justifying their persistent denial of Friday prayers at the grand mosque. This move not only infringes upon the fundamental right to practice one’s religion but also reflects a broader pattern of suppressing dissent and expression of discontent in the region.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chief of the Jamia Masjid, continues to face house detention, further deepening the sense of religious suppression in the region. This heavy-handed approach by the authorities not only curtails the freedom of religious leaders but also undermines the principles of religious tolerance and diversity.
In a parallel incident, religious scholar Agha Syed Mohammad Hadi Al-Moosvi has also been placed under house detention, depriving him of the opportunity to fulfill his religious duties. The denial of religious gatherings and practices is a concerning trend, particularly as it targets individuals who hold influential positions within the community.
The people, despite facing continuous denial of their right to perform religious obligations, remain resolute. The closure of the Imambargah in Bemina for nine consecutive Fridays has not dampened their commitment to expressing solidarity with al-Quds and its people. The hostility from the administration, rather than suppressing sentiments, appears to be fortifying the resolve of the people.
As the international community observes these developments, it becomes imperative to address the blatant violations of religious freedoms in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. It is essential for global voices to advocate for the restoration of these rights and the cessation of oppressive measures in order to foster an environment of tolerance and respect for diversity.