After nine weeks, Friday prayers held in historic Jamia mosque

However, moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who delivers the sermon ahead of congregational prayers, could not participate as he was placed under house arrest, official sources said.

The last Friday prayers were offered at Jamia Masjid on September 10, a day ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr festival.Apprehensive of violence after the prayers, authorities used to impose strict curfew to ward off protests and maintain law and order.

Islamic scholars and clerics, under the banner of 'Muttehada Majlis-e-Ulema', had voiced serious concern over placing of restrictions around Jamia Masjid and other places of worship on Fridays.

They threatened to issue a 'fatwa' (edict) against the state government if it did not lift the restrictions today.

Immediately after the prayers ended, supporters of Mirwaiz took to the streets protesting his house arrest and also what they called "continued siege" of the Jamia mosque for the past nine weeks.Slogan-shouting protestors were stopped by police at Gojwara Chowk sparking minor clashes between the two sides.Police used mild force to disperse the protesters but none was hurt, sources said.

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