Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who was released from house arrest after four years of detention, led the Friday prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar. Mirwaiz was in detention in the wake of the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution in August 2019.
Mirwaiz to offer Friday prayers
According to Anjuman Auqaf Jamia Masjid, the management committee of the mosque, the 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 Jamia Masjid for Friday prayers.
The administration’s move comes days after Mirwaiz moved the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and the court sought a reply from the administration over the house detention. On September 15, the court granted a four-week time to the Jammu and Kashmir administration to file its response to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq's petition.
The Hurriyat leader was put under house arrest at his Nigeen residence on August 5, 2019, the day the Central government abrogated the provisions of Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into Union territories
Political leaders welcome Mirwaiz’s release from house arrest
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad welcomed the release of senior religious leader and said that this is a positive move towards reconciliation and unity. "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 said in a post on X.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti took a dig at BJP over the release of Mirwaiz and said that a tussle has already begun between BJPs various political outfits to claim credit for his release. "Finally Mirwaiz Umer Farooq will walk a free man after years of LGs admin’s denial about his detention. As a religious head he is held in high regard by muslims across J&K. Unfortunate that a tussle has already begun between BJPs various political outfits to claim credit for his release," she said.
Former CM Omar Abdullah also reacted to the recent development and said that all eyes would now be on the Friday sermon at the Jamia Masjid. "I welcome the step taken by the administration in J&K to release Mirwaiz Umar Farooq from house arrest. I hope that they allow him to move freely, interact with people & resume his social/religious responsibilities. Today eyes in Kashmir will be on the Mirwaiz as he delivers his first Friday sermon in Jamia Masjid after 2019," said Abdullah.