Hurriyat Conference chairperson Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday turned emotional after he was “released from house arrest” after four years. He broke into tears while delivering the Friday sermon at Jamia Masjid in Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar. Previously, he had sent a legal notice to the J&K administration seeking a factual position over police authorities allegedly denying him permission to lead the Friday prayers. The J&K administration maintained that Farooq is free to move and is not under detention. Still, he was not allowed to lead prayers at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019.
Earlier in the day, Omar Abdullah, vice-president of the National Conference (NC), expressed hope that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq would be granted the opportunity to move freely, engage with the community, and resume his crucial social and religious responsibilities.
“I welcome the step taken by the administration in Jammu and Kashmir to release Mirwaiz Umar Farooq from house arrest. I hope that they allow him to move freely, interact with people and 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,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister stated.
Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president, also welcomed the development and wrote: “Finally, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq will walk a free man after years of LG administration’s denial about his detention. As a religious head, he is held in high regard by Muslims across Jammu and Kashmir. Unfortunate that a tussle has already begun between BJP’s various political outfits to claim credit for his release.”
Ghulam Nabi Azad, ex-J&K CM and the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) chief, emphasised the influential role of religious clerics in Kashmiri society, stressing, 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!”.
Altaf Bukhari, chief of the Apni Party, expressed his optimism that Mirwaiz would play a pivotal role in shaping society positively for a better and more peaceful future. He extended his gratitude to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and LG Manoj Sinha for permitting Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to lead Friday prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid. “Hope Mirwaiz Sahab will play his role to shape the society in a positive way for a better and peaceful tomorrow,” Bukhari conveyed.
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