RAJOURI, Sept 18: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has asked for immediate opening of all the religious places including Dargah Hazratbal and Jamia Masjid Srinagar for devotees that have been closed for Friday prayers for long.
In a statement issued here, Mehbooba said that these revered places remain unjustifiably closed for Friday prayers on the pretext of COVID or security reasons depriving thousands of devotees from offering prayers there.
“On the security front, the authorities have been making repeated claims of “all is well”. They quote stone pelting incidents and instances of violence in general to back their claims. So what justifies the closure of these revered places for Friday prayers?” she asked.
“As far as the Covid situation goes, we have seen normal operations of all other sectors, huge events are organized by the Government, sports activities have been happening in a big way and now even the higher education institutions are being opened. Parks, gardens and amusements parks have also been thrown open for general public. In such a situation, keeping Dargah Hazratbal and Jamia Masjid closed for Friday prayers has no justification,” Mehbooba said.
“Signaling out these revered places for restriction smacks of ulterior motives and amounts to direct interference in religious matters,” she added.
“Places like Jama Masjid Srinagar & Dargah Hazratbal, apart from religious significance are also centers of social, cultural and economic activity and this undue clampdown is only alienating the people further. These places should be opened for Friday prayers without any further delay,” Mehbooba added.