Congregational prayers were held at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid on Wednesday – the first time since the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status on August 5, PTI reported. Mufti Ghulam Rasool led some 70 worshippers in prayer.
“Congregational prayers were offered at Jamia Masjid in the afternoon after a gap of 136 days,” unidentified officials said, according to PTI. Security restrictions around the mosque had been lifted earlier, but people refused to offer prayers since the security forces had not been removed.
“I was sitting at home when I heard the azan [call for prayer] coming from the Jamia Masjid,” Mohammad Iqbal, a 55-year-old resident of the area told AFP. “I couldn’t believe my ears and came running to offer prayers here for the first time in four-and-a-half months.”
Iqbal said he felt like he was breathing again. “No doubt my happiness knows no bounds today, but the saddest thing is that the Kashmir dispute is yet to be resolved,” he added.
Before the Indian government imposed restrictions in Kashmir, separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq used to deliver sermons and political messages at the mosque every Friday. He is still in detention along with other separatist and political mainstream leaders.