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Home ministry releases photos of Kashmir Id prayers

The ministry also released figures on social on many people turned out to pray in various places

By The Telegraph in New Delhi
  • Published 12.08.19, 3:00 PM
  • Updated 12.08.19, 3:00 PM
  • 3 mins read
  •  
One of the photos released by the home ministry's spokesperson on Twitter to show Id prayers in Kashmir. Credit: @PIBHomeAffairs

The home ministry today released photos of Id prayers in Jammu and Kashmir on Twitter as a government official claimed that the festival was celebrated in 90 per cent religious places. 

The ministry also released figures on social on many people turned out to pray in various places. 

Jammu and Kashmir principal secretary (planning commission) Rohit Kansal said that "over 5000 devotees offered prayers at the Eidgah in Jammu. We've reports of the successful conclusion of Eid prayers from the Kashmir valley in Baramulla, Ramban, Anantnag, Shopian, Awantipora, Srinagar & other places."

The photographs have come when foreign news media outlets have contradicted Delhi's all's-well-in-Kashmir line after a week's shutdown, little of which has been eased. Mainstream political leaders in Kashmir are still under detention.

Id prayers were limited to neighbourhood mosques as authorities imposed strict controls and security forces fanned out across towns and villages, restricting the movement of people and prohibiting congregations in large grounds.

The festive buzz was missing as roads were deserted across large swathes of the Valley and the silence broken only by police sirens and IAF helicopters hovering overhead.

Kashmiris woke up to armed personnel deployed in every possible corner asking them to remain indoors.

The Eidgah ground and places such as the Hazratbal shrine, the TRC Ground and the Syed Saheb mosque were quiet and desolate.

There were reports that former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were allowed to offer Id prayers but no details were available.

Several political leaders, who were picked up on August 5, offered prayers at the Centaur Hotel on the banks of the Dal lake, officials said.

The government provided an imam at the hotel where they have been kept since their detention, they added.

In many places, people could be seen requesting security personnel to let them through.

One of them was Mohammed Asgar, a resident of Indira Nagar in this main city of the Valley.

"I want to wish my brother who stays across the road but I am not being allowed to do so," said Asgar, who wanted to meet his ailing brother in Shivpora, a distance of less than a kilometre from Indira Nagar. Both Indira Nagar and Shivpora are within cantonment limits and this is the first time in 30 years of insurgency that such strict restrictions are in place, residents said.

Officials said on the condition of anonymity that restrictions had to be put in place as people could have turned violent after the prayers. Last Friday, more than 10 people were injured with pellets and tear gas shells when a congregation after prayers started a protest in Soura on the outskirts of Srinagar.

The media has also been subjected to strict curbs. Phone lines, mobile or landline, as well as internet connections have been suspended for the last eight days.

Some people gathered outside hotels housing media personnel, hoping to be able to call their children and families in other parts of the country. They returned dejected when they learnt phones were not available to media personnel as well.

I thought I would be able to speak to my son studying in Bangalore as I could see journalists on television regularly and thought they had phone connections, said Nusrat Begum. She and her husband Riyaz Mohammed went to the Syed Saheb Shrine in uptown Sonawar but could not offer prayers.

"We thought we will first offer prayers at the shrine and then try our luck and speak to our child. To our surprise, the shrine is locked and imam is not to be seen anywhere," said Riyaz.

In local mosques, people were allowed inside in singles, officials said.

Hilal and Bilal of Dalgate area said they were not allowed to go together to their local mosque by security personnel who cited restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

"Does that make sense? What harm would it have done if we walked together to the mosque," said Hilal. "Seeing the ground conditions, I have planned to take my family to Delhi," he said.

Id-ul-Adha prayers concluded without any violence, police said.

Written with PTI report