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Jammu and Kashmir separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq released from ‘house detention’ after 4 years, leads Namaz at Srinagar Jamia Masjid

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was released after he moved Jammu and Kashmir High Court on September 15, seeking release from detention

On Friday, September 22, Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was released from house detention four years after he was initially ‘detained’. The Jammu and Kashmir separatist leader claimed that he was ‘detained’ following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in August 2019.

After the release, the 50-year-old religious leader headed towards the Jama Masjid for the Friday prayers, where he led the prayers and delivered a sermon. “The police siege around my house was lifted this morning. Last evening, the authorities informed me I was being released from house detention and am free to go anywhere. I would be leaving for Jama Masjid to discharge my responsibility as the Mirwaiz (chief priest). I was unjustly stopped from doing it for more than four years,” he was quoted as saying post-release.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was released after he moved Jammu and Kashmir High Court on September 15, seeking release from detention. The court granted the Jammu and Kashmir administration a four-week period to provide a response to Mirwaiz’s petition.

“I was allowed to deliver the sermon at the Jamia Masjid after 212 consecutive Fridays. “People are aware that after August 4, 2019, I was kept under house detention and I was not being allowed to move out of my home due to which I couldn’t perform my duties as Mirwaiz,” he said in his address at the mosque. Mirwaiz also appealed for peace and appealed to Kashmir Pandits to return back to the Valley.

The mosque management, Anjuman-e-Auqaf Jama Masjid issued a statement saying, “Senior police officials visited the residence of the Mirwaiz on Thursday to inform him that the authorities have decided to release him from house detention and allow him to go to Jama Masjid for Friday prayers.”

Meanwhile, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah welcomed the decision of the Jammu and Kashmir administration to release Mirwaiz Umar Farooq from house arrest. “We welcome this step by the government. He should not have been held under house arrest for so long. Now that he has been released it means that the situation here is not so bad and elections can be conducted. We hope he will fulfil his socio-religious role now,” he said.

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and Chairman of the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP), Ghulam Nabi Azad also welcomed the decision. “Welcome step! After 4 years of house arrest, it’s heartening to hear that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq will be allowed to offer Friday prayers at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid. Religious freedom is a fundamental right, and clerics have an important role to play. This is a positive move towards reconciliation and unity!” he wrote on Twitter (X).

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the Hurriyat separatist leader, was placed under house arrest at his Nigeen mansion on August 5, 2019, on the day Article 370 was revoked by the Modi government and the state of Jammu and Kashmmir was bifurcated into two union territories.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the leader of the separatist Hurriyat Conference was released soon after he filed a plea with the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. Previously, on September 15, the court gave the Jammu and Kashmir administration four weeks to respond to Mirwaiz’s appeal.

Reports mention that on August 18, Mirwaiz had issued a legal notice to the state of Jammu and Kashmir authorities regarding his “house detention.” According to a notice, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha emphatically rejected Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s imprisonment, claiming that he was free to relocate to any location.

Mirwaiz Umar has repeatedly alleged that he has been put under house arrest by the police after the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, and said that a large security force was deployed outside his house. However, Sinha in August 2023 had asserted that Hurriyat leader and cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was a free man and not under detention.

“He is not under detention. There are no restrictions on his movement. He can go anywhere,” Sinha was quoted as saying. The separatist leader was however released days after he filed a plea with the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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