As Mirwaiz Farooq completes 3 yrs in house detention, J&K leaders seek release

Published on Aug 04, 2022 08:53 PM IST

Peoples Conference president Sajad Lone said that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was a moderate religious voice, representing the true essence of Islam, in the war against radicalism

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman, Hurriyat Conference and chief priest of Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid was detained along with major J&K mainstream politicians on August 4, 2019. (PTI)
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman, Hurriyat Conference and chief priest of Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid was detained along with major J&K mainstream politicians on August 4, 2019. (PTI)

SRINAGAR: Prominent political parties and leaders in Jammu and Kashmir demanded the release of separatist Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who completed three years in house detention on Thursday.

Mirwaiz, who is chairperson of a faction of the Hurriyat Conference and chief priest of the historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, was detained along with major mainstream politicians on August 4, 2019, a day ahead of the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into two union territories, his party said.

Jamia Masjid or the grand mosque is one of the biggest mosques in Kashmir and has been central to many important developments throughout the history of the Valley. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq used to deliver the weekly sermons in the mosque before his detention on August 4, 2019.

While most other politicians including National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, Peoples’ Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti and People’s Conference head Sajad Lone, were released in due course, Mirwaiz, 49, who is considered to be the most moderate among separatist leaders, continued to remain incarcerated at his Nigeen home in Srinagar.

His party said the detention is a gross violation of his fundamental and basic human rights. “All channels of communication to him are blocked and outreach to people, friends and party cadre, barred,” the Hurriyat said in a statement.

“It seems our chairperson is being punished for pleading the cause of resolution of the lingering Kashmir conflict through peaceful means of dialogue and deliberations,” it said, demanding that the government release all Kashmiri political prisoners including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and “resume the process of conflict resolution through peaceful means, which is dialogue”.

Peoples Conference president Sajad Lone said that Mirwaiz was a moderate religious voice, representing the true essence of Islam, in the war against radicalism. He appealed to home minister Amit Shah and J&K lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha for his immediate release.

“We may differ politically but Mirwaiz is our religious leader. We are all Muslims here and in the war between the radicals and the moderates, our hope is Mirwaiz. That moderate hope is in detention. He can’t go anywhere, can’t perform Nikah of people and can’t advocate his moderate Islamic teachings,” Lone said.

PDP spokesperson Mohit Bhan said that the incarceration of the religious head of 8 million people will not win the hearts and minds of Kashmiris: “This is a sad state. One may differ with someone on political lines, but a person’s political ideology must not be used to disallow him from discharging his religious duties,” he said.

The National Conference (NC) also sought the release of Mirwaiz saying his continued detention was violative of basic human rights.

NC’s chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq said, “Notwithstanding our disagreements with Mirwaiz sahib, we mince no words to express our concern on his continued incarceration. Our constitution provides for freedom of conscience and the rights of all individuals to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion. The same should not be denied to Mirwaiz. His prolonged detention hurts the religious sentiments of people, who would otherwise hear the pulpit and spirals of Jamia Masjid reverberate with his sermons, especially on Fridays”.

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