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Curbs around Hazratbal disrupt Milad-Un-Nabi prayers

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first_imgFearing protests, authorities on Sunday disallowed gatherings of the faithful at the Hazratbal Mosque in Srinagar on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad.All entry points to the mosque, including Habak area on the outskirts of the city and the Rainawari and Sadrabal areas in the old city, were closed for traffic. The security forces started spreading concertina wires on the streets and used mobile bunkers to block several stretches on Saturday. as part of an exercise to impose restrictions.This move stopped the worshippers from assembling for the night-long prayers. “It is first time in my living memory that such a thin attendance of worshippers was observed on the auspicious occasion in Kashmir. Only locals living in nearby areas turned up for the night-long prayers and the daytime customary display of holy relics, which include a strand of hair of the Prophet Muhammad, also saw a thin attendance of the devotees,” said Yaqoob Qureshi, a retired teacher who has been attending the congregational prayers at the shrine since 1990. Around 2,000 worshippers, including women from nearby places, managed to offer noon prayers inside on the mosque on Sunday. According to the local caretaker, the Hazratbal shrine witnesses a gathering of more than 50,000 devotees on the occasion. “We were appraised by the security agencies beforehand and cautioned against any major gatherings”, a caretaker said. The noon prayers on Sunday saw brief sloganeering, including pro-sharia and pro-freedom slogans.The police there were fears of anti-India elements staging protests and the security arrangement was to maintain order. Meanwhile, smaller gatherings were reported from other major mosques in the Valley on the occasion.This is for the second time this month that a traditional and centuries-old congregation was not allowed. Earlier, on the occasion of Khawaja Diger, where men and women hold joint prayers at the Naqshband Sahib shrine, the security forces sealed the shrine and disallowed any prayers.Since the revocation of J&K’s special status on August 5, there is tight security arrangement in Kashmir. Internet and SMS facilities remain barred for nearly 100 days now. The authorities are yet to restore prepaid mobile services for around 35 lakh customers.last_img read more

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Jeev Milkha Singh targets Major ambitions at The Open

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first_imgThe last time Jeev Milkha Singh turned up for The Open, he had to leave even before the tournament began in 2009 at Turnberry and two years before that he missed the cut at Carnoustie. So there is some unfinished business at The Open for the Chandigarh golfer.India has a lot of interest in this year’s edition with Anirban Lahiri and Daniel Chopra, the Indo-Swede, also in the field.This is only the second time two Indians are teeing up at The Open. The first time it happened in 2009, Jeev pulled out before the start due to injury, while Gaganjeet Bhullar missed the cut on debut.Jeev comes as almost the last man to get into The Open by winning the Scottish Open to end a four-year title drought.Jeev, whose sole top-10 in a Major has been tied ninth at the PGA Championships in 2008, is hoping to continue his great form in links golf.”I like golf in tough and testing conditions. Wind, cold and even rain makes golf, particularly links Golf a real challenge and I actually love it, even though many find it taxing and even frustrating,” says Jeev.The two-time Asian Tour number one produced a stunning play-off victory in Scotland and now wants to treat his third Open appearance as just another tournament. He did not subject himself to any additional pressure by flying to his London home to relax for a day before coming to Lytham on Monday evening and then playing just six holes on Tuesday.advertisement”The course is looking superb. It is in great shape, just the way an Open course is expected to be. The key is to avoid the bunkers of which there are 206, and the rough is unforgiving. So one has to hit straight, stay in the fairways and not get too ambitious,” said Jeev.”This is just another week for me. I’m not going to treat it differently. I want to treat it like another event. That’s why I’ve just showed up on Tuesday and take it from there.”However, the Indian has yet to pop a bottle of bubbly to celebrate his 14th international victory. “It was great satisfaction winning against a top field and tough conditions. We didn’t celebrate. All plans had to change (as he initially wasn’t in The Open field) and I went back to London, got in at 1.30am after Sunday. We didn’t have a chance to celebrate but we’ll do it next week,” he said. “I take a lot of confidence and want to move back into the top-50 and do well in the Majors.”Jeev is happy not just with his form but the fact that he is injury-free. He won four times in 2006 and four times in 2008, followed by a tough period with injuries.”It was a frustrating period. You just have to hang in there and believe that things will turn around. If you do the right stuff, good things will happen,” he said. “When a player is injury-free, he can work harder. It gives him more confidence. Last few weeks, I was having two or three good rounds. I just needed to put in four good rounds. It happened last week and the win came.”last_img read more

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