'Geelani prevented from offering Eid prayers'

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Srinagar, Oct 14: Breakaway Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani was today prevented from offering Eid-ul-Fitr prayers by the authorities who placed him under house arrest early this morning, his aide claimed.

Breakaway Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar said Mr Geelani was scheduled to offer Eid prayers at the historic Hazratbal shrine, housing the holy relic of the Prophet Mohammad.

Mr Geelani had earlier withdrawn his initial programme to offer Eid prayers at the Eidgah grounds, apprehending violent clashes after moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq too decided to offer special prayers there.

Mr Akbar said a police contingent had been deployed in and around the residence of Mr Geelani at Hyderpora near here since Friday.

''When Mr Geelani was about to leave for Hazratbal, the police officials told him that he cannot go there. Instead, he was asked to offer Eid prayers at a mosque near his residence and that too under heavy police bandobast,'' he added.

Mr Akbar said the breakaway Hurriyat chairman refused to offer Eid prayers at the Hyderpora Jamia mosque under ''security cover'' or with police personnel ''shadowing'' him. ''This is against the Shariah (Islamic law). A person should be free enough to offer Eid and Friday prayers and wherever he likes,'' he added.

The Hurriyat spokesman said the police cover from Mr Geelani's residence was finally lifted at around at 1500 hrs.

Several separatist and social organisations have condemned in strongest terms the government move.


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