Mirwaiz Umar Farooq not under house arrest, says J&K Lieutenant Governor

Amazed by statement, says Hurriyat

August 19, 2022 09:41 pm | Updated August 20, 2022 01:25 am IST - SRINAGAR

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. File

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. File | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Manoj Sinha on Friday said Hurriyat chairman and chief cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was neither under house arrest nor detained. However, the Hurriyat has contested the L-G’s claim.

“There was no Public safety Act [PSA] against him [the Mirwaiz] even in 2019. He is not detained. In the past, his father was assassinated unfortunately. We keep security around his house to protect him. He needs to decide what he wants to do. He is neither under house arrest nor detained,” Mr. Sinha told the BBC in an interview in Srinagar.

A Hurriyat spokesman said, “The Hurriyat was amazed by the statement. The Mirwaiz is under house detention for the past three years since August 2019. Such blatant misrepresentation of facts and denial of his incarceration are unbelievable.”

The Hurriyat claimed that being the Mirwaiz or chief cleric he was even stopped from going to the Jamia Masjid on Fridays to deliver religious sermons from its pulpit, which is the centuries-old tradition. “Except close relatives no one is allowed to enter the house. How can these facts be negated and claims of his not being under house arrest made,” the spokesman said.

‘No personal ambition’

“The Mirwaiz and his forefathers represented and defended the basic interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir in their engagements with both India and Pakistan, and in the course , suffered exile, shahadat and incarcerations . There has never been any personal ambition of acquiring power to rule, or material gain that would tempt this leadership to play to or appease both or any side. Talks held with both India and Pakistan were only to find a resolution and get the people of Kashmir out of the vicious cycle of violence,” the Hurriyat said.

Meanwhile, the spokesman said if the authorities have now decided to release the Mirwaiz he should be “allowed to deliver the Friday sermon at Jamia Masjid this week”. “Let them not stop people from assembling there to listen to him,” the spokesman said.

Omar’s tweet

Former Chief Minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah also took a jibe at the L-G’s statement on the Mirwaiz.

“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,” Mr. Abdullah said in a tweet. 

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