The restrictions imposed by the authorities of Indian Kashmir prevented Sunday that thousands of Muslims would meet, as every year, in the Dargah shrine of Srinagar, the summer capital of the region, to celebrate Eid-Milad, anniversary of the birth of the prophet Muhammad.
The restrictions began on Saturday night to prevent meetings in the sanctuary, known for decades to keep part of the prophet's hair as a sacred relic, which many devotees came to see.
The holiday used to be organized by state authorities until last August 5, when the Indian government abolished the special status of the region and New Delhi directly controlled Kashmir.
A local police official who preferred to maintain anonymity assured Efe that the measure is intended to "maintain law and order, and safeguard people's lives."
The locals and inhabitants of adjacent towns can nevertheless access the sanctuary to offer their prayers, he added.
Inhabitants of the area told Efe that the Indian security forces established barriers and barricades with barbed wires on the main road and on all the roads leading to the sacred site, walls permanently prepared since August and that the authorities activated at will.
About one hundred people living in the immediate vicinity of the sanctuary were able to access to pray inside, those sources said.
On November 1, the authorities also prevented the local population, mostly Muslim, from gathering at another historic sanctuary in the Naqshband Sahib area for the annual Khwaja Digar religious celebration.
"The Administration is interfering in the religious affairs of Muslims," Jamia Masjid Auqaf (Administration of the Great Mosque) of Srinagar denounced in a statement.
The note added that "all kinds of prayers have been banned in the great mosque since August 5 and the security forces have practically closed the religious site."
The religious celebration of Khwaja Digar "was also not allowed recently and now people have been forbidden to gather at the Dargah shrine. These acts clearly indicate that religious freedom has been taken from the Kashmir people," he continued.
Nor do the streets of the city show their shops illuminated for the occasion, since most remain closed since August as a protest measure.
Since the abolition of the special status, the region already formally divided into two Union Territories controlled by New Delhi, continues with internet services blocked by the authorities' fear of anti-Indian demonstrations.
The blockade to telephone communications that was established in August was already lifted, as were most restrictions on the rights of assembly and free movement.
. (tagsToTranslate) India (t) Muslims (t) Kashmir (t) anniversary (t) Prophet