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Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Placed Under House Arrest, Denied Access To Jamia Masjid On Friday

In September last year, Mirwaiz was released from prolonged house arrest. Initially, he was allowed to address people at Jamia Masjid.

A view of Jamia Masjid
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The authorities prevented Mirwaiz Umar Farooq from addressing the Friday prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar and placed him under house arrest.

Mirwaiz, who was scheduled to address the congregation at the mosque, was placed under house arrest by the authorities.

In a statement here, Anjuman Auqaf Jamia Masjid, the managing body of the 14th-century mosque in the old city of Srinagar, condemned the repeated detention of Mirwaiz on Fridays.

The Anjuman stated that Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir had once again been placed under house arrest at his residence by the authorities and was not permitted to address people at Jamia Masjid Srinagar or to offer obligatory Friday prayers.

The managing body said they were concerned over Mirwaiz's repeated house detention, especially on Friday, when thousands of people from the valley gather at the historic Jamia Masjid Srinagar to listen to his sermon.

"People get very sad to see the empty pulpit," the Anjuman said, adding that the authorities should refrain from “repeatedly and arbitrarily detaining Mirwaiz, causing grief to Muslims.” Last month the government did not allow Eid prayers at the Jamia Mosque.

In September last year, Mirwaiz was released from prolonged house arrest. Initially, he was allowed to address people at Jamia Masjid. In his first speech in September after his release last year, Mirwaiz became very emotional and wept. He stated that in the current situation, there exists no space for the expression of their opinions, aspirations, and concerns. He emphasized the need for conservation, patience, and responsible behaviour at this juncture. However, after that, Kashmir's chief cleric was placed under house arrest and was not allowed to offer prayers at Jamia Mosque Srinagar.

In January this year, Mirwaiz was allowed to travel to New Delhi for the first time since he was placed under house arrest in August 2019. Mirwaiz had described his visit to Delhi, along with his mother and other family members, as "purely private and personal."

However, upon his return, he was not allowed to lead prayers at the Jamia Mosque.

Later on March 15 Mirwaiz, who is also head of the Awami Action Committee and Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference, offered Friday congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid of Srinagar. Thousands of Muslims attended the congregational prayers on the first Friday of the holy month of Ramzan.

In April he was again placed under house arrest. On his house arrest, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted on April 6, “How unfortunate that on the auspicious occasion of Shab-e Qadr Jamia Masjid has been locked up to prevent people from offering prayers and Mirwaiz put under house arrest yet again. Land, resources, religion - what all will you deprive Kashmiris of?” Mehbooba had said.

Since the Union government abrogated Article 370 and the reorganization of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories on August 5, 2019, the authorities have consistently denied permission to the Anjuman to organize Eid prayers at Jamia Masjid. This Eid also Mirwaiz was not allowed to offer prayers at the Jamia Mosque. While authorities occasionally permit Mirwaiz to lead Friday prayers, they frequently subject him to house arrest on other occasions. This month's first Friday, he was not allowed to offer prayers. The authorities didn’t cite any reason.

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