For the first time in 17 years, on Friday prayers could not be held at the historic Jamia Masjid and various other mosques in the Kashmir valley with no relaxation in curfew today in anticipation of trouble.
The people living in the vicinity of Jamia Masjid in interior city where Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq usually delivers the Friday Sermon were not allowed to move out and offer prayers at the grand mosque.
The authorities were apprehensive of massive protests in Jamia Masjid area after Friday prayers since Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was arrested along with other top separatist leaders ahead of their planned march to Lal Chowk on Monday.
It is for the first time in nearly two decades that the Jamia Masjid remained shut and prayers could not be offered on Friday.
Friday prayers could not be held at the historic mosque in 1991 also when security forces conducted searches following reports that arms and ammunition had been kept at the mosque.
Prayers were also not allowed at most of the mosques located on the main roads, the sources said.
However, prayers were held at Hazratbal and other shrines including Syed Yaqoob Shrine at Sonawar, Mukhdoom Sahib, Dastigeer Sahib, Khankah-e-Moula, Kailashpora and other locality mosques with thin attendance, official sources said.
Meanwhile, spokesman of the coordination committee of separatists Masarat Aalam termed the government move not allowing people to offer Friday prayers as "interference in religious affairs of Muslims".
Commenting on the arrest of senior Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmad Shah today, Aalam said, "the arrest of leaders will not affect the ongoing movement in Jammu and Kashmir".