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Omar Abdullah welcomes move to allow Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to lead prayers

SRINAGAR: Welcoming the decision of the Jammu and Kashmir administration to release Mirwaiz Umar Farooq from house arrest, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday expressed hope that the cleric will be "allowed to move freely, interact with people" and "resume his religious responsibilities".

"I welcome the step taken by the administration in J&K to release Mirwaiz Umar Farooq from house arrest. I hope that they allow him to move freely, interact with people & resume his social/religious responsibilities. Today eyes in Kashmir will be on the Mirwaiz as he delivers his first Friday sermon in Jamia Masjid after 2019," the National Conference leader posted on X.

The management of Kashmir's grand mosque Jamia Masjid said in a brief statement said that the cleric will be allowed to offer Friday prayers after four years of "house arrest".

"Mirwaiz Umar Farooq will be allowed to offer Friday prayers at Srinagar's Jamia Masjid after 4 years of house arrest," the statement said.

Mirwaiz Manzil, which identifies to be the Centre of religious and political discussions, posted on X, "After FOUR years (212 Fridays) of illegal & arbitrary incarceration, Mirwaiz Kashmir will today offer congregational Friday prayers & deliver sermon at Jama Masjid Srinagar".

Mirwaiz Umar has repeatedly alleged that he has been put under house arrest by the police after the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019.

However, contradicting his statement, Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha told the media in Srinagar last month that Umar Farooq was a "free man and not under detention".

Earlier in August, the Centre celebrated the fourth anniversary of its decision to abrogate Article 370 and bifurcate the erstwhile state into two Union territories Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is the son of Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq who was killed on May 21, 1990, by terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen.

Earlier in May this year, Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh said that the State Investigation Agency (SIA) of Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested two absconding terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen in the case.

The arrested terrorists Javaid Ahmad Bhat and Zahoor Ahmad Bhat were residents of Srinagar. They were absconding after murdering Mirwaiz Farooq on May 21, 1990.


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