Where would imams, who have spent their lives trying to understand the Islamic religion and teach it properly, get the idea that it had something to do with violence? No doubt Pope Francis and John Kerry are on their way to Srinigar right now to explain to these arrested imams how they’re misunderstanding their religion of peace.
Srinagar, Oct 29: After police arrested many Imams for “inciting people to violence” through their sermons, it has led to a new crisis within valley where many mosques are without prayer heads.
Soon after the killing of Burhan Wani, mass pro-freedom sloganeering and playing of taranas (eulogies) on public address system was witnessed in mosques across Kashmir.
Sensing trouble, the police arrested many Imams within city and other districts of Kashmir on the pretext of ‘inciting violence’.
Presently scores of the mosques in Kashmir are without Imams who are either in detention or on the run fearing action from the authorities.
In old city which has been more or less caged for the last three months, dozens of mosques including that of Suboorbab Eidgah and Teen Masjid Safakadal are without Imams for over two months now.
“Police have arrested many Imams and it has created a kind of fear among the rest as well. The Imam of our mosque left for home during the festival of Eid-ul-Adha and since then he has not visited back. Every day we have to plead every other person to lead the prayers,” Showkat Ahmad Khan, president, SuboorBab Masjid Committee told The Kashmir Monitor.
In Srinagar majority of the mosques have Imams who hail from other districts. Locals say that have gone into hiding after police started collecting details about them.
“They were already frightened after police started collecting details about them. The action from police on Imams gave them a reason to leave for home,” said Ghulam Ahmad, a local of Safakadal.
The residents of Kawdara, Noorbagh Safakadal and Chattabal areas of the city face similar issues as the Imams of the local mosques in these areas have ceased to lead the prayers.
“We often travel to nearby mohalla to pray inside a mosque. It becomes difficult during evening hours when the entire area is calm. Nobody is ready to lead prayers in our mosque and often people pray individually,” the residents of Chattabal said.
As per reports, similar issues are arising in other districts and towns where the Imams have been arrested by police.
In Baramulla district and volatile areas of south Kashmir, many mosques are without Imams after forces arrested them on the pretext of giving ‘violent’ speeches….