Post Friday prayers, clashes rock downtown parts
Srinagar, May 31: Thousands of people today thronged the historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar to offer the prayers on the occasion of Jumat-ul-Vida (last Friday of Ramadhan) even as massive clashes rocked the parts of downtown after the congregational prayers.
Chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq addressed the gathering of thousands of people at the Jamia Masjid as emotional scenes were witnessed during his sermon as he led the prayers for repentance. Witnesses told KNO that women, elderly, children were seen crying and pleading before Almighty Allah amid chanting of special duas (prayers).
The historic masjid was jam-packed from all side and outside also from all corners, people were seen offering prayers. However, soon after the congregational prayers ended, hundreds of youth, many of them wearing masks on their faces, raised slogans in favour of militants as many were carrying banners displaying the photographs of slain militants including the Ansaar Gazwatul Hind (AGH) commander Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Moosa who was recently killed in Tral area of Pulwama district.
Another group of youth amid chanting of pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans marched towards Nowhatta while the other one was seen marching towards Khanyar. Even though there was no deployment of forces outside Jamia Masjid, the protestors were stopped at police station Nowhatta and Khanyar.
“The policemen asked these protestors to go back, but they refused and instead resorted to stone pelting. The number of protestors swelled and intense clashes were witnessed first at Khanyar then Nowhatta that later spilled over to other parts of downtown,” witnesses said.
Police used pellets and tear gas shells to disperse the protestors, who refused to budge and instead engaged forces in intense clashes till evening, the witnesses told KNO