Srinagar: Thousands of people from different parts of Kashmir converged at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar's old city to observe 'Laylat-al-Qadr or the Night of Power' earlier this week.
It was for the first time in the past three years that the authorities allowed night-long prayers at Srinagar's grand mosque. One of the holiest nights in Islam falls between the nights of 26-27 Ramadan passed off peacefully. No untoward incident was reported and devotees offered prayers in peace.
Pertinently, until 1990 thousands of people converged at Srinagar's grand mosque every Friday and on occasions like Shab-e-Mehraj, Shab-e-Baraat and Shab-e-Qadr to offer congregational prayers.
People in large numbers coming to the grand mosque for congregation prayers provided separatists with a readymade audience to deliver anti-national sermons to appease their masters in the neighboring country.
Frequent disruptions led to a decline in the number of people visiting the grand mosque. Many shopkeepers closed down their establishments due to uncertainty and chaos.
It may be recalled that in 1990, Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists murdered Kashmir's chief cleric, Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq at his residence at Nageen in Srinagar outskirts.
The participation of thousands of people in 'Shab-e-Qadr (Night of Power)' recently is ample proof of the fact that peace has been established in the volatile old city of Srinagar.
Ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr this year markets around Jamia Masjid are buzzing with activities and people are thronging the area without any fear of getting caught in stone-pelting or facing any harassment at the hands of miscreants.
Peace has returned to Srinagar's old city. The government has succeeded in restoring the pristine glory of the 610-year-old grand mosque, which can accommodate more than 33,000 people at one time.
The Jamia Masjid known for its peaceful and tranquil ambiance is glittering again.
The message is loud and clear that no one at J&K would be allowed to use religious centers to promote vested interests. People converge at religious places to seek solace and pray for peace, and they are least interested in politics.
In the past three years, Srinagar has changed.
Its youth has given up the path of violence. No one is being arrested for indulging in stone pelting as no stone pelters are left. Terrorism is on its last legs with the number of terrorists falling below the 70-mark.