Closed Kashmir main mosque belies India’s religious freedom claim


The focal mosque in Indian-managed Kashmir’s biggest city has to a great extent stayed shut for the beyond two years in the midst of a severe debate between Indian specialists and Kashmiri Muslims.

The extremely old Jamia Masjid overwhelms its area in Srinagar with a monumental primary entryway and gigantic turrets.

The structure, made of block and wood, is perhaps the most established mosque in the city of 1.2 million, 96 percent of whom are Muslim, and frequently attracts thousands to petition.

With 378 wooden columns, it can hold 33,000 admirers.

On exceptional events throughout the long term, a huge number of Muslims fill close by paths and streets to offer petitions drove from the mosque.

A Kashmiri man offers prayer inside the Jamia Masjid, or the grand mosque, in Srinagar [Mukhtar Khan/AP]
Nonetheless, Indian specialists consider the mosque to be a pain point – an operational hub for fights and conflicts that challenge New Delhi’s power over the contested Kashmir area, guaranteed completely by India and Pakistan who rule over pieces of it.

For Kashmiri Muslims, the mosque is a hallowed spot where they offer compulsory petitions on Fridays and furthermore speak more loudly for political privileges.

In the midst of these pressures, the mosque has generally been covered for the beyond two years.

The mosque’s central minister has been kept inside his home practically constant all through that time, and the mosque’s primary door is latched and obstructed with creased tin sheets on Fridays.

‘Something missing somewhere inside my heart’
The conclusion of the mosque, which is loved by Indian-directed Kashmir’s generally Muslim populace, has extended indignation among them.

“Something is missing somewhere inside my heart,” said Bashir Ahmed, 65, a resigned government representative who has offered petitions at the mosque for over 50 years.

Indian specialists would not remark on the mosque limitations in spite of rehashed questions from The Associated Press news office.

Previously, authorities have said the public authority had to close the mosque since its administration board of trustees couldn’t stop enemies of India fights in the vicinity.

The closing of the 600-year-old mosque arrived in a clampdown that started in 2019 later the public authority stripped Indian-managed Kashmir of its since quite a while ago held semi-independent status.

The grand mosque is seen through its gate that remains locked on Fridays [Mukhtar Khan/AP]
In the beyond two years, a portion of the area’s different mosques and hallowed places – likewise shut for a really long time because of the security crackdown and the resulting pandemic – have been permitted to offer strict administrations.

Jamia Masjid has stayed outside the alloted boundaries to admirers for supplications on Fridays, the fundamental day of congregational love in Islam.

Specialists permit the mosque to stay open the other six days, however two or three hundred admirers collect there on those events, contrasted and the many thousands that frequently assembled on Fridays.

Opportunity of religion is cherished in India’s constitution, permitting residents to follow and uninhibitedly rehearse their convictions. The constitution additionally says the state won’t “separate, belittle or intrude in the calling of any religion”.

For Kashmiri Muslims, the mosque is a symbol of faith, a sacred place where they offer not just mandatory Friday prayers but also raise their voice for political rights [Mukhtar Khan/AP]
For the district’s Muslims, the mosque’s conclusion brings excruciating recollections from an earlier time.

In 1819, Sikh rulers shut it for quite some time. During the beyond 15 years, it has been dependent upon occasional boycotts and lockdowns by progressive Indian legislatures.

However, the current limitations are the most serious since the locale was split among India and Pakistan later the two countries acquired freedom from Britain in 1947.

“India says it is a mainstream country. Assuming this is the case, for what reason are we seeing such strict limitations?” asked Zareef Ahmed Zareef, an artist and an oral student of history.

Later Kashmir’s emission into an equipped disobedience to India in 1989, the amazing mosque and its encompassing regions in Srinagar’s heart arose as fundamental to the fights.

India has portrayed the disobedience as Pakistan-supported illegal intimidation, a charge Pakistan denies.

‘Jamia Masjid represents the soul of Kashmiri Muslims,’ says Kashmiri poet Zareef Ahmed Zareef [Mukhtar Khan/AP]
Lessons at the Jamia Masjid would frequently address the long-stewing struggle, with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the central cleric and one of the area’s top dissenter pioneers, giving blazing talks featuring Kashmir’s political battle.

Specialists frequently clipped down forbidding supplications at the mosque for broadened periods.

As indicated by true information, the mosque was shut for somewhere around 250 days in 2008, 2010 and 2016 consolidated.

The mosque has remained out of bounds to worshippers for Friday prayers for the past two years [Mukhtar Khan/AP]
“Individuals at the mosque contemplated and felt otherworldliness and Mirwaiz had a one of a kind way of conveying lessons. Conversations around friendly, monetary and policy driven issues were the center strict capacity of the mosque,” said Altaf Ahmad Bhat, one of the authorities at the amazing mosque.

Bhat excused the rule of peace and law reasons refered to by the specialists.

“I accept it is their inadequacy assuming they can’t handle the circumstance. We speak more loudly here and it isn’t consistently political. I think this is no contention by any means,” he said.

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