A day after the chairperson Jammu and Kashmir Waqf board hinted that congregational Eid prayers are likely to be held at historic Eidgah ground in Srinagar’s downtown area, security agencies on Wednesday said they were apprehensive of the law and order situation by vested interests on the occasion.
Darakhshan Andrabi, chairperson Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board told Ground Report that their department is only ensuring the availability of the facilities and arrangements for prayers, stating their priority is to make the ground look like an Eidgah with adequate facilities for holding the Eid prayers.
“See I have to look into my department’s role which is to keep the place ready for holding the Eid prayers, rest government, and concerned agencies will have to see”, she remarked.
Reacting to the news reports that the security establishment has expressed apprehensions about “fomenting of trouble by vested interest to vitiate the peace” in the Kashmir Valley, Andrabi said that she has no information on that, but said that currently they are focused and have prioritized giving a new facelift to Eidgah.
“I don’t have any information or any anyone has conveyed to me on the law and order apprehensions, my department mandates me a duty to make arrangements for holding the Eid prayers, later it is to be seen how the situation remains”, she said.
A local news wire GNS reported that Eid prayers at historic Eidgah here are unlikely to be allowed as security establishments are apprehensive about “fomenting of trouble by vested interest to vitiate the peace”.
Quoting a senior police officer on condition of anonymity it said that even though no decision has been taken about holding and otherwise of the Eid prayers, “it was most unlike as trouble mongers may use the occasion to foment trouble and vitiate the prevailing peace.”
“Security clearance for such an occasion is a must and police establishment is of the belief that it should not be allowed,” the officer said, adding, “the decision lies with the government”.
Andrabi, added that she has always prioritized peace, calm, and happiness and that on the Eid occasion, she doesn’t want the festive occasion to get spoiled due to any trouble.
Notably, Eid prayers have not been offered at the historic Eidgah in Srinagar for the last three years as authorities were apprehensive of law-and-order problems.
Now, for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370 on 5 Aug 2019—which stripped Jammu and Kashmir of it’s limited autonomy and further divided the state into the two union territories, the speculations went rife about holding the Eid prayers at Eidgah after a gap of around three years.
The development followed after Andrabi on Tuesday visited and conducted a review of the preparations for holding congregational Eid prayers at Eidgah.
While speaking to the media on the sidelines of her visit, Andrabi said they are making the pre-arrangements for holding the congregational Eid prayers at Eidgah and that they are also looking into the cleanliness and installation of the sound system.
In a response to a question about witnessing of law and order situation in the past during congregational Eid prayers at Eidgah, she said, “don’t think about the past, today’s Kashmir wants peace, development, and prosperity.”
Jahangir Sofi is a Kashmir-based senior Journalist with more than 10 years of experience who has covered Administration, Health, Politics, Conflict, Environment, and wildlife. His reports have been featured at The Wire, Article 14, Mint Lounge, Newslaundry, and other media houses.
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