Laylat ul Qadr- ‘The Night of Power’ with Tear Smoke and Pellets in Kashmir

June 02

Arif Ahmed

The District administration in South Kashmir’s Islamabad (Anantnag) in Kashmir on Thursday said that it had finalized all the arrangements for the holy night of Muslims, Laylat ul Qadr, which falls between the 26th and the 27th night of the month of fasting- Ramdan.

Throughout the Kashmir valley, millions of people gathered to observe the night with religious fervour, the largest gathering were held in the Dargah Shareef of Srinagar and the Jamia masjid of Srinagar, in the South Kashmir’s Islamabad (anantnag) district, the largest gathering of people was expected at Jamia Masjid of the district located in Reshi Bazar- the heart of the township.

Women from many parts of South Kashmir, including from Shopian, Pulwama had gathered here to observe the Laylat ul Qadr- literal meaning, the night of power, observed throughout the globe by the Islamic world. As soon as people stood up to offer Isha- night prayers around 1030 PM, the Policemen, at least five in number entered inside the Jamia masjid chasing a few youth who were pelting stones on them outside the mosque.

People gathered here tried to make some sense with them, and the arguments just led to Policemen being chased away with Slogans, the Police, however lobbed tear smoke shells at the devotees gathered for the religious occasion and soon it was smoke and smoke everywhere.

People, as old as eighty years, whom i feared might die, because of excessive tear smoke which led to abnormal coughing and within no time, the whole congregation was gripped in chaos and fear. The Policemen were inside the compound of the Masjid and thousands of people present inside the mosque were coughing and in deep confusion as to what shall be done.

We tried to open the windows, however it did not work, the fans, we tried almost everything, but nothing worked for us, as a result the prayers were delayed till 11 PM. When people were about to offer the Prayers, Policemen again fired smoke shells and pellets at the youth, the women in the masjid all came out at once and asked the Police to stop firing smoke shells, the result, more smoke shells were fired.

What was more infuriating was when one young boy was hit with pellets in his head, we helped him with the pellets, however the deep pain he was in, made him weep and shout in agony, which kept on disturbing everyone during the prayers. He cried for help all the time.

The clashes between the protesters and Policemen continued for several hours, however what needs to be answered is why the verbal abuses were used and why did the Policemen fire tear smoke shells inside the grand Mosque?