SRINAGAR: Legal experts in occupied Jammu and Kashmir has said that stopping people from offering Friday prayers was against the Right to Religious Practice, a fundamental right under Article 25 and 26 of the Indian constitution. Renowned human rights activist and convener of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (J&K state) Balraj Puri termed stopping of people from offering Friday prayers as an act of “clear constitutional and human rights violation”. “We will definitely take this issue at the United Nations,” he said.
The authorities had imposed an undeclared curfew on Friday morning stopping people from offering Friday prayers especially in and around the historic Jamia Masjid for the third consecutive Friday. Experts also termed holding elections in an atmosphere of “religious repression” as “thoroughly illegal”.
Taking to Rising Kashmir, senior counsel Syed Tassaduq Hussain said under Article 25 and 26 of Indian constitution Right to Religious Praticie was a fundamental right. “According to Islam, every Muslim is duty bound to offer Friday congregational prayer. So imposition of undeclared curfew around the Masjid and preventing people from offering prayers makes restrictions imposed by the State highly excessive,” Hussain said adding constitutionally any “excessive restriction” is a violation of Article 19 (1) of the constitution of India.
“The legal corollary is that any election held in such an atmosphere of religious repression becomes thoroughly illegal,” Hussain informed while asserting that India was not just bound by its own constitutional injunctions but was also a signatory to United Nations Declaration in the Human Rights Charter. “Seen in this backdrop the excessive restrictions become violation of human rights.”
He further said the curfew around Masjids at the time of Friday congregational prayers was clear violation of constitutional Human Rights Ethics and Morality. “This amounts to coercion of people by the State in the name of holding fair elections. Thus holding elections in such an atmosphere becomes legally unacceptable,” he argued.
However Hussain said: “Putting cordons around Masjids cannot be challenged legally. The State can defend itself citing fresh incidents of violence which took place following the transfer of State’s forest land to the controversial Amarnath shrine board and later in mass uprising in which more than 50 people were killed.”-SANA