Mirwaiz freed from ‘house arrest’ after 4 years; says war is no option

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 After over four years, Kashmiri senior separatist leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was released from ‘house detention’ and allowed to lead Friday prayers at historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar.

In his first sermon after the abrogation of Article 370, Mirwaiz said that ‘war is no option and sought resolution of the Kashmir issue through a dialogue’.

Mirwaiz talked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stance on the Ukrainian war with Russia where he called for peace and resolution.

He said the Hurriyat Conference too has been advocating dialogue and resolution of issues for all these years.

“ All along Hurriyat Conference has been advocating dialogue. We want peaceful resolution of Kashmir and we are for communal harmony,” Mirwaiz said in the sermon.

“It is sad that for this stand we were branded as separatists, anti-nationals and much more,” he said, adding that they were representing the sentiments of people of J&K.

The senior separatist leader said Jammu and Kashmir’s one part in India, one in Pakistan and one in China and this indicates J&K should be resolved.

“For people of J&K it is an issue of humanity and it must be resolved through dialogue as we have been advocating,” he said.

The Hurriyat Chairman said they have been always insisting on the return of Kashmiri Pandits.

There was a charged atmosphere inside Jamia Masjid here as Mirwaiz reached the Jamia mosque after four years.

Mirwaiz broke into tears while delivering the Friday sermon.

The separatist leader Mirwaiz, who is also the chief priest, has been under house detention since August 4, 2019 — a day before the union government scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated the state into two union territories. Mirwaiz has recently moved to J&K High Court seeking release from detention.

Several mainstream parties welcomed the release of Mirwaiz.

National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah said welcomed 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,” Omar said.

“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,” PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti posted on X.

“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!” Chairman Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

“Welcome the release of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq sahib. It is a joyous day for all of us to hopefully see him leading the prayers. He symbolises a tradition which is primarily religious in nature but also strong societal connotations. This tradition has been routinely interrupted in the last three decades, by all governments. Hope this tradition proposers uninterrupted,” Peoples Conference Chairman Sajad Lone said.

“I want to place on record thanks to the Hon’ble Union Home Minister Mr. Amit Shah ji @AmitShah and LG Manoj Sinha ji @manojsinha_for the decision to allow Mirwaiz Umer Farooq to lead Friday prayers at historic Jamia Masjid. Hope Mirwaiz Sahab will play his role to shape the society in a positive way for a better and peaceful tomorrow,” Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari said.

Congratulations to respected Brother #MirwaizUmarFarooq Sahib. It is soothing to see you after a highly appreciable decision by the Administration. Religious scholars belong to all & no group or political party has a copyright for any religious personality. I hope, this time politico-theatrical statements will not shadow the happiness of the release of Mirwaiz. Wishing him great for future,” BJP leader and Chairperson J&K Waqf Board Darakhshan Andrabi said.

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