Restrictions on large gatherings, Kashmir offers Eid prayers in smaller mosques

File Photo

Srinagar, August 12: Amid sporadic incidents of stone pelting and street protests, muted Eid celebrations were observed in Kashmir Valley on Monday, the first after revocation of the special status. With restrictions on large gatherings,  special prayers were held in smaller mosques around the Valley.

An official release stated that in view of the possibility of ‘terrorists, militants and mischievous elements trying to disturb public order and peace’,  reasonable restrictions were imposed on large gatherings in sensitive areas.  The release stated that people gathered in large numbers at local mosques to offer prayers.

Downplaying the incidents of protests, the government spokesman claimed that `some minor localised protests of a routine nature took place at a few places which is not  unknown in Jammu and Kashmir in the past’.  The release further claimed that only a few protestors were injured in police action without specifying the nature of police action.

The government, however, claimed that restrictions imposed were eased from Saturday onwards in a `calibrated manner, balancing the requirements of facilitating the public and preventing mischievous elements from creating trouble.’  Some media reports had suggested that on Sunday, the authorities had withdrawn the relaxation of prohibitory orders.

In other parts of the state, restrictions were completely lifted in 5 districts of Jammu and limited to the night in other five districts. Similar local relaxation was done in the 9 other districts of Kashmir based on local assessment of the situation, the release added.

But the restrictions on connectivity continue as a result of security requirements, added government release adding that people were being facilitated to contact their relatives and children outside the state through widespread deployment of help lines at convenient locations such as the District Commissioner’s office, Police stations and Police posts.

Earlier, the state administration held a meeting with local clerics to oversee prayer arrangements and ensure peaceful celebrations.  Eid prayers were not allowed in most of the mosques in Srinagar where curfew-like curbs were re-imposed on Sunday amid fear of violence.

Officials, however, claimed that large number of people congregated for Eid-ul-Adha prayers in smaller mosques all across Kashmir valley. 

According to photos shared by the government, Eid prayers were held in smaller mosques.

“Eid prayers concluded peacefully in various parts of the valley. No untoward incident reported so far,” the official Twitter handle of the Jammu and Kashmir Police posted on Monday morning.

Sharing a photo of people distributing sweets after offering namaz, Union Home Ministry spokesperson Vasudha Gupta tweeted: “Eid prayers offered peacefully in all local mosques of Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Bandipore, without any untoward incident. Jamia Masjid old town Baramulla witnessed approx 10,000 people offering prayers.

“People come out in good numbers to pray on Eid in Jammu and Kashmir prayers concluded at prominent mosques in Srinagar and Shopian. Over 4,500 offer prayers at Eidgah Jammu.”

Amid the celebrations, government vehicles carrying police and security personnel were seen running on almost all the deserted roads and streets which are generally crowded on this occasion.

In an attempt to maintain friendly atmosphere on the occasion, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which is deployed in Jammu and Kashmir for internal security, said it distributed sweets at Eidgah.

“As sweets and smiles are directly related to festivals, CRPF Jammu distribute both at Eidgah Jammu on this Eid-al-Adha. Eid Mubarak to you all,” CRPF DIG M. Dinakaran tweeted.

Thousands of security personnel remain in the Kashmir Valley and phone and internet services have still not been restored.  With inputs from IANS