But LG said…’: Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tried to leave home for Jama Masjid, stopped

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told the security personnel that his rights as a citizen were being snatched despite the Lt Governor making a clear statement that there were no curbs on his movement

But LG said…’: Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tried to leave home for Jama Masjid, stopped

SRINAGAR: A week after Lt Governor Manoj Sinha insisted that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was not under detention, security personnel outside his residence barred him from leaving the premises, saying a security review was still underway.

The Mirwaiz announced his decision to offer prayers at Jama Masjid in view of Manoj Sinha’s recent assertion in an interview that the Mirwaiz, also the chairman of one faction of the Hurriyat Conference, hadn’t been under house arrest and that “he has to decide for himself what he wants to do”. People close to him said that he had prepped to deliver his sermon at the mosque, his first in three years.

But as his vehicle reached the main gate of his residence to leave for Jama Masjid on Friday, two police officers stopped it and asked him to return home. “The Lt Governor has announced that I am a free man… I am going to Jamia Masjid to discharge my religious duties as the Mirwaiz. Why am I being stopped? Why don’t you (officers) give me in writing that I am not allowed to move out of my house?” he asked the police officers.

The Mirwaiz tried to walk out through the main gate but he was stopped by police personnel accompanying the two officers. One officer told him that a security review was going on due to which he would not be allowed to leave, according to news agency PTI.

Mirwaiz, the top spiritual leader of Muslims in Kashmir, was placed under house arrest ahead of Parliament revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in August 2019. As he completed three years under house arrest, there were demands from political parties in the Valley that the government should lift the restrictions.

But in an interview with BBC Hindi, J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha denied that the Hurriyat Conference chairman had been under arrest. “Even in 2019, Mirwaiz wasn’t booked under PSA (Public Safety Act) and was not kept in detention. If you go back, some incidents happened in the past, even father of Mirwaiz was killed. We have kept police around him for his personal safety,” Sinha said.

“He (Mirwaiz) has to decide himself what he wants to do. From our side, he is not under arrest.” Sinha also said that they have not kept any leader of a political party, civil society member or religious leader in jail.

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