Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq led the Friday congregational prayers at Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid for the first time in four years after being released from house detention.
Mirwaiz was allowed to participate in the Friday congregational prayers at the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar’s Nowhatta area. After receiving news about the release of the Hurriyat leader and his congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid, thousands of people from different parts of the Valley thronged the mosque.
A large crowd was seen at the mosque premises shouting slogans enthusiastically, welcoming Mirwazi with garlands and showering flowers on him while he proceeded towards the Mosque’s pulpit.
‘Worst period of life’
During his sermon, Mirwaiz said that four years of his house detention were the worst period of his life after his father’s death. He appealed to Kashmiri youth to not do anything which disrupts peace “We will be successful in what we wanted to achieve” he said.
“I cannot utter my sentiments, but it is all because of the prayers of people that I am here again to deliver the sermon,” he said, adding that it was quite difficult for him to stay away from the pulpit for four years.
He went on to say that after the abrogation of Article 370, people faced difficult times as special identity was snatched and bifurcated in two Union Territories.
“As a Mirwaiz, I have the responsibility to raise the voice for the people. Since the Hurriyat Conference continued to raise its voice, the media stopped using our statements. I want to tell my people that it is the time to be patient, to keep faith in the Almighty,” he was quoted by KNO, a local news agency.
‘J&K facing humanitarian issue’
He further said in his sermon that the Hurriyat party believes that one part of the J&K is in India and two others are in Pakistan and China respectively. He said merging all disintegrated parts of the erstwhile state will make the Valley complete. “J&K issue can be a territorial issue for many, but for the people of J&K, it is a humanitarian issue. Therefore, this issue needs to be resolved” he said.
Mirwaiz responded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks regarding the Ukraine crisis by adding that he was correct to claim that the modern period is not one of war. “We have also been promoting the use of discussion to resolve the J&K issue. We encountered challenges while travelling the path of peace, but regrettably, we were labelled as separatists, anti-national, and anti-peace. However, we have no personal objectives; all we seek is a peaceful resolution to the J&K issue, he stated.
The Mirwaiz family has traditionally been leading prayers in the mosque for generations. His father Mohammad Farooq Shah commonly known as Mirwaiz Moluvi Mohammad was chairman of ‘The All Jammu and Kashmir Awami Action Committee’, a coalition of disparate political parties in Jammu and Kashmir that sought a resolution to the Kashmir conflict. Mirwaiz Moulvi was also leading the Jamia masjid prayers in his time.
The Hurriyat leader was put under house arrest at his Nigeen residence on August 5, 2019, the day the BJP-led Centre abrogated the provisions of Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into Union territories.
The court, on September 15, gave four weeks’ time to the Jammu and Kashmir administration to file its response to the Mirwaiz’s petition.
“Senior police officials visited the residence of the Mirwaiz on Thursday, September 21 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 Auqaf said in a statement.