Press Trust of India

Devotees barred from offering ‘Khawaja Digar’ at Old city shrine

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Friday congregational prayers also disallowed in Jamia Masjid

Srinagar: Authorities Friday disallowed worshippers to allow Khawaja Digar, a special prayer, at the Naqashbandh Sahib (RA) shrine in Shaher-e-Khaas where hundreds of devotees had assembled at the revered shrine for the congregational post noon prayers even though strict restrictions were put in place.
Eyewitnesses said that authorities had imposed restrictions in parts of old city and had laid concertina wires on the road leading towards Naqashbandh Sahib (RA) shrine near Khanyar.
They said that hundreds of devotees who had assembled there to offer special prayers on the road tried to remove the barbed wire.
“As they were removing the concertina wire, Government Forces fired tear smoke shells to disperse the devotees as a result several worshippers, mostly women sustained injuries in the ensuing stampede,” said an eyewitness.
A couple of photo journalists also alleged that were too beaten by forces after they tried to cover the incident.
Thousands of devotees used to throng Naqashbandh Sahib (RA) shrine in Nowhatta Khawaja Bazaar area every year on the eve of Urs and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq used to address the devotees.
The Urs is celebrated on the 3rd Rabi-ul-Awal every year. Besides, the gatherings for special prayers (khatmat-muazzamat) are held for 12 days from 21st Safar to 3rd Rabi-ul Awal. These gatherings are held every day at 8 AM in the morning at the Khanqah-i-Naqshbandiya.
Pertinently, Nowhatta area where historic Jamia Masjid is located is witnessing restrictions every Friday as congregational prayers are not being allowed since August 5 when the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was revoked.
Meanwhile,no Friday prayers were allowed in different mosques including historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar for the consecutive 13th Friday.
Sources said that restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar including Nowhatta where Jamia Masjid is located.
Security was beefed up in old Srinagar city. Shops and business establishments remained shut across the Valley while government forces were deployed and put on high alert. (PTI)

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