‘Blatant misrepresentation’: Hurriyat on LG’s ‘Mirwaiz not under arrest’ remark
J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was not under arrest or detention and he was not even booked under the Public Safety Act even in 2019
SRINAGAR: The Hurriyat Conference faction led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday contested Lieutenent Governor Manoj Sinha’s statement that the Mirwaiz was not under house arrest, saying that he was even stopped from going to Jamia Masjid on Fridays to deliver religious sermons, a the centuries old tradition in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is under house detention for the past three years since August 2019. Mirwaiz for the last three years has forcibly not been allowed to come out of his house despite repeated appeals from all sections of people to the authorities, including religious leaders across the state,” the Hurriyat Conference said in a statement, describing Manoj Sinha’s statement as a blatant misrepresentation and mischievous.
J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha in an interview with BBC Hindi said the Hurriyat Conference chairman was not under arrest. “Even in 2019, Mirwaiz wasn’t booked under PSA (Public Safety Act) and was not kept in detention. If you go back, some incidents happened in the past, even father of Mirwaiz was killed. We have kept police around him for his personnal safety,” Sinha said.
J&K Lt Governor said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has to take decision about himself.
“He (Mirwaiz) has to decide himself what he wants to do. From our side, he is not under arrest.” Sinha said that they have not kept any leader of political party, civil society member or religious leader in jail.
National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah said the government said something similar for his collegues too.
“The same way my colleagues were locked in their homes “for their own safety” for months on 4th Aug 2019 & the same way we get trucks parked outside our gates every once in a while because “inputs” suggest an attack on Gupkar road is imminent,” wrote Omar Abdullah on Twitter while sharing the video of J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha saying that Mirwaiz is not under arrest.
To be sure, prominent political parties and leaders of Jammu and Kashmir earlier this month demanded the release of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
The Hurriyat Conference chairman and chief priest of historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, was placed in detention along with hundreds of others including all major 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.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq used to deliver the weekly sermons at Srinagar’s Jama Masjid before his detention on August 4, 2019. The Jamia Masjid or grand mosque is one of the biggest mosques in Kashmir and has been central to many important developments throughout the history of the Valley.
The Hurriyat statement said that if the authorities now want to release the Mirwaiz, it is welcome, but giving such misleading statements is mischievous.
“Let Mirwaiz be allowed to deliver the Friday sermon at Jamia Masjid this Friday and let them not stop people from assembling there to listen to him,” the statement said.
Peoples Conference chairmain Sajjad Lone said Sinha should verify his facts. “I think LG sahib needs to verify facts. His statements don’t reflect reality. May I humbly state that the tradition of locking up leaders and then denying is an old worn out tradition. It has been happening for the last 3 decades,” Lone tweeted.