SRINAGAR: The Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Saturday condemned the "forcible closure" of the historic Jamia Masjid here by authorities, disallowing thousands of people to offer congregational Friday prayers.
The managing body of Jamia Masjid had on Friday claimed that authorities did not allow congregational prayers there by deploying security personnel in large numbers.
It also said that that police personnel "forced" employees to close all gates of the mosque and no 'namazis' (devotees) were allowed inside.
"Hurriyat Conference strongly condemns the forcible closure of Jamia Masjid, Srinagar by the state authorities for congregational Friday prayers," a statement said.
It said the earlier pretext of closing the mosque to prevent the spread of COVID-19 stands totally exposed.
"The grief and deep hurt this reprehensible act causes people, who for decades have been offering prayers in this central mosque, cannot be expressed in words.
"The environment created in J&K by the rulers is so suffocating and intimidating that no one dares (to) raise their voice to ask why even the basic right to offer prayers is denied," the Hurriyat said.
It alleged that all efforts are being made to silence the people of Jammu and Kashmir into submission.
"The recent continuing crackdown in every nook and corner of the valley has seen arrests of more than a thousand people so far, picked up by the authorities, and then illegally detained on criminal charges and draconian laws," it said.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)