Srinagar, August 26 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, twenty nine years have passed but the memories of the siege of Jamia Masjid Srinagar are still fresh in the minds of people.

Indian forces had conducted a massive operation at the historic Jamia Masjid on August 25, 1989, and arrested 300 people who were present in the mosque after offering Friday prayers.

The Chairman of Hurriyat forum, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, in a statement while commenting on ‘Operation Jamia Masjid’ said, “It was an open aggression against Kashmir’s spiritual centre.” He said that the operation was an act of revenge by the authorities on the people and leadership of Mirwaiz Molvi Muhammad Farooq as the historic masjid had been the rallying point and centre to the sentiments and aspirations of the masses.

“The pulpit of Jamia Masjid has always been an eyesore for all regimes that have ruled Kashmir by force, as it highlights the miseries and oppression on people and represents their true aspirations,” he added.

The Mirwaiz said that despite repeated attempts to silence the voice from the pulpit of the mosque, the podium had and would continue to be the people’s true voice, highlighting injustices and repression and striving for achievement of their rights. He said the pulpit of historic mosque represents the concept of Islam as a complete way of life, touching all aspects that affect humans in their social political and religious sphere.

It is to mention here that on the fateful day, people had offered congregational Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid and the then Mirwaiz, Moulvi Muhammad Farooq, had delivered his sermon.

“Majority of people had left the grand masjid but some 300 odd were still inside,” recalled Abdul Majeed Shahani, a resident of Srinagar. He said within minutes, Jamia Masjid was sealed by the Indian troops from all sides. “The forces’ personnel entered the mosque with their boots on while all gates were closed. All the 300 people were held hostages,” he recounted.

A witness of the siege said that all the 300 people were detained and 270 of them were released after a week while remaining 30 were shifted to various prisons including Kathua and Hiranagar jails in Jammu.

Ghulam Muhammad Zargar, a resident of Rainawari, who was among the 300 detained people, said, “270 people were lodged in Kothibagh and other police stations and released after a week and the rest 30 were shifted outside the Kashmir Valley.”

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