Srinagar Jama Masjid, J&K Apni Party demand Mirwaiz’s release

Valley’s chief cleric completes 100 Fridays in detention

As Kashmir Valley’s chief cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is also the Hurriyat chairman, completed 100 Fridays in detention, the Anjuman-e-Auqaf Jama Masjid, caretakers of the historic Srinagar mosque, and the J&K Apni Party have demanded his release “to resume his religious duties”.

“We express deep dismay and anguish over the continued house detention of the Mirwaiz since August 2019. People of Kashmir have been deprived of his soulful rendition of ‘waz-o-tableeg’ (sermons) from the pulpit of the historic and central Jama Masjid Srinagar for the past 100 Fridays,” a spokesman of the Anjuman-e-Auqaf Jama Masjid, Srinagar, said.

Traditionally, the Mirwaiz family has been leading Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid at Nowhatta area. The Mirwaiz, who heads a Hurriyat faction, also led prayers and delivered sermons at the mosque.

“It’s authoritarian to forcibly keep the Mirwaiz away from the pulpit of the Jama Masjid. People from far off places visit the mosque to listen to the sermons rendered. The government’s move is not only extremely regrettable but reprehensible,” the Anjuman’s spokesman said.

In a joint statement, several ulemas (religious scholars), imams (priests), religious leaders, social and educational associations and civil society members have demanded his release.

“The role of the institution of Mirwaiz is not limited only to socio-religious reforms, but it has its role for establishing democratic institutions and safeguarding democratic rights. I will request the Lieutenant Governor to release the Mirwaiz, who plays an important role in society to fight social evils,” J&K Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari said.

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