Altaf Bukhari Prays at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid, Credits People for Peace

Altaf Bukhari Prays at Srinagar's Jamia Masjid, Credits People for Peace
Photo: PTI
Altaf Bukhari Prays at Srinagar's Jamia Masjid, Credits People for Peace
Photo: PTI

Altaf Bukhari Prays at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid, Credits People for Peace

Altaf Bukhari Prays at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid, Credits People for Peace

Altaf Bukhari Prays at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid, Credits People for Peace

Apni Party leader Altaf Bukhari on Monday became the first mainstream politician in three decades to offer prayers inside Srinagar city’s historic Jamia Masjid, once a citadel of separatist politics in Jammu and Kashmir.

Accompanied by Apni Party candidate for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Bukhari and his entourage offered prayers inside the 14th century mosque in Nowhatta area of the city where Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq delivers the Friday sermon.

Asked about his visit to Kashmir’s grand old mosque, Bukhari said that he had come to offer voluntary prayers at the mosque.

“The credit for peace goes to people. No doubt the administration of the day also makes efforts but in the end, it is the people who do it,” he added.

Bukhari, who was campaigning for Mir in downtown Srinagar, said that it was wrong to depict the Jamia Masjid as the place for mobilization of election boycott in Kashmir.

“It was not a boycott mobilization. Somewhere the pride or esteem of the people was hurt which led to such things in the past. Vote is a sacred right and people should give their votes to the candidate that they feel will represent them better in the Parliament,” Bukhari told reporters.

Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency goes to polls on May 13. Mir, National Conference leader Aga Ruhullah and PDP youth president Waheed Para are locked in a triangular contest for the prestigious seat.

The former minister hit out at the three sitting Lok Sabha members from Kashmir – National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Masoodi and Mohammad Akbar Lone – for their performance in the Parliament over the past five years.

“What have these three MPs done? According to reports, there are 1,400 persons behind bars and these sitting MPs still have one month left in their tenure. If they manage to get only 10 per cent of the jailed youth released, I will ask my candidate to sit down and people can vote for them (National Conference),” he said.

Jamia Masjid has been seen as the epicenter of separatist politics in Kashmir since 1990. Stone-pelting on the security forces after Friday congregational prayers was a regular feature in the area for almost three decades.

However, after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, the mosque was locked down for a long period and the Hurriyat Conference chairman was not allowed to offer prayers there for more than four years.

Although Farooq was released from house arrest in September last year, the authorities sometimes disallow Friday prayers due to apprehensions of law and order problems.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by VoM News staff and is published from syndicated feed)

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