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Mirwaiz Umar Farooq not released, won’t lead Friday prayers, APHC says

The party said that since early morning today, additional forces have been deployed outside his house and around the area, “converting it into a garrison”.

Hurriyat Conference (M) leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq will not lead the congregation Friday prayers at the Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid today as he continues to be under house detention, All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) said in a statement issued here.

In the statement, APHC expressed strong resentment and regret that after ‘announcing the release’ of its chairman Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir Molvi Umar Farooq from 20-month-long house detention since August 2019, Government authorities back-tracked on their decision.

“Late last night, police officials visited Mirwaiz’s residence to convey to him that he continues to be under house arrest, and will not be allowed to go to Jamia Masjid for Friday prayers and Majlis Waz-o-Tableeg today,” the statement added further.

The party said that since early morning today, additional forces have been deployed outside his house and around the area, “converting it into a garrison”.

However, APHC appealed people not to ‘lose hope and show patience’ and at no cost, resort to any form of violent protest.

Pertinently, some local news agencies and even The Hindu had claimed that the government had set Mirwaiz Umar Farooq free from house detention.

A report in the Hindu quoted unnamed top officials from the UT administration as having confirmed, “The Mirwaiz is not under any detention.”

Ironically, Minister of State for Home Affairs, G. Kishan Reddy had, on February 03, 2021, said that no one was under house arrest in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

“No person is currently under house arrest in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir,” the minister had said in a written reply in the Upper House of Parliament.

It is worthwhile to mention that for the last 82 Fridays, Mirwaiz couldn’t lead prayers in the Srinagar city’s grand mosque, owing to his detention.

Pertinently, the head priest of Kashmir was put under house arrest on August 4, 2019 when the BJP-led Central government had decided to announce the decision to abrogate the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the erstwhile State into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

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