Marking a historic step, cinema halls have returned to Jammu and Kashmir after 32 years. J&K LG Manoj Sinha inaugurated multiplexes in South Kashmir districts Shopian and Pulwama, getting nationwide appreciation and applause. But AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi reacted to the news while posing a strange question about Srinagar Jamia Masjid.
Asaduddin Owaisi questioned Manoj Sinha, asking Lt Governor why the Srinagar Jamia Masjid is closed every Friday. He floated the question in the context of opening cinema halls in Shopian and Pulwama.
Further to his question, Owaisi said "at least don't shut it [Jamia Masjid] during the afternoon matinee show" as a sly dig at the newly opened cinema halls.
Owaisi's tweet sparked a row, with many siding with the politician while others criticising his viewpoint. The tweet received more than 1,500 likes and close to 500 RTs.
International Business Times reviewed the claim made by Owaisi regarding the Srinagar Jamia Masjid being shut for Friday prayers. After confirming with our ground sources in Srinagar, it can be said with certainty that the claim made by Owaisi is baseless.
To further counter the claim, Srinagar Police came forward with a response. The official handle of the Srinagar Police quoted Owaisi's tweet and clarified saying Jamia Masjid is fully opened and even highlighted the isolated instances when it was shut.
"Jamia is fully opened, only on 3 occasions post-covid, it was temporarily shut for Friday noon prayers owing to inputs of terror attack /law & order situation. This was after Jamia authorities failed to take responsibility of happenings inside. Staying far is no excuse of ignorance," Srinagar Police tweeted in response to Asaduddin Owaisi's tweet.
In a statement to International Business Times, Srinagar Police issued a detailed clarification about the rumour floated by Owaisi.
"There is a rumour floated by one non-Kashmir-based politician that Jamia Masjid is closed. It is clarified that Jamia is fully open. Only on three occasions in total after it opened post-covid was it temporarily shut, this was owing to inputs of terrorist attack /law and order situation. Jamia was then shut only after Jamia Intezamia authorities failed to give assurance & take responsibility of happening inside the Masjid. Non-Kashmir based persons who are far away from reality should behave responsibly and resist making false statements for gaining sensationalism," read the official statement.
Jamia Masjid was shut on 29 April 2022, 3 May 2022 and 10 July 2022 for reasons mentioned above.
Based on the official statement by Srinagar Police and confirmation from our ground staff, IBTimes has arrived at the conclusion that Owaisi's claim about Srinagar Jamia Masjid being shut for Friday prayers is false and baseless.