Kashmir: Major mosques remain closed for Eid as Indian security crackdown continues

Government claims some prayers allowed as communications remain cut off

New Delhi protest over India's revocation of Kashmir status

Eid prayers were reportedly banned at some major mosques in Indian-administered Kashmir on Monday, during an ongoing security crackdown in the region.

Frustration is growing in the Muslim-majority area, which is also claimed by Pakistan, over India’s decision last week to curtail autonomy for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, including lifting a bar on non-residents buying property.

The Eid restrictions come after the Indian government cut off phone lines, communications and the internet in the area on 5 August.

India then proceeded to scrap a constitutional provision that had allowed Jammu and Kashmir to make its own laws.

The Modi administration also broke the state up into two territories which will now be federally administered.

Large gatherings have been banned across the disputed region.

Major mosques in the city of Srinagar remained closed for the Eid holiday, according to NDTV.

Smaller local mosques were open for prayers, according to the Indian government.

Hundreds of people shouting anti-India slogans spilled on to the streets following prayers in the neighbourhood of Soura, the site of a big demonstration on Friday, but authorities largely sealed off the area and kept the protest localised.

Kashmir’s police force said in a tweet that Eid festival prayers “concluded peacefully in various parts of the [Kashmir] Valley. No untoward incident reported so far”.

“We want freedom, we are neither a part of India, nor Pakistan,” said Asifa, an 18-year-old woman who was among those protesting after prayers at the shrine of Jinab Sahib in Soura.

“Modi is lying to his people that the removal of special status of Kashmir is good for us,” she said. “We will resist it till our last breath.”

The Indian government claimed that restrictions had been relaxed for Eid.

But the clampdown on communications remained in place for an eighth day, with no regular internet, mobile phone or fixed-line links working.

Virtually no independent information has emerged from elsewhere in the region apart from Srinagar in the past week.

Residents said the silence in Srinagar was like nothing they had ever experienced before on the Eid festival.

Shops were shut, their shutters and walls carrying anti-India graffiti including, “Go India Go Back” and “We Want Freedom”.

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“What are we celebrating? I can’t call my relatives to wish them Eid, we can’t go out to buy things. So, what kind of celebration is this?” asked Aneesa Shafi, an elderly woman entering a mosque in Srinagar’s Barzulla area.

The decision not to lift the security restrictions followed a meeting of the state’s chief secretary with district administrative and police officials on Sunday, a senior government official told Reuters.

“It was decided that the restrictions would be imposed on Eid to prevent gatherings that could turn violent,” the official said.

More than 300 regional leaders and activists remain in various forms of detention across Kashmir.

Additional reporting by agencies

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