SRINAGAR — Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has claimed that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has neither been incarcerated nor placed under house arrest.
LG Manoj Sinha made this claim in an interview with the Hindi Service of British Broadcasting Corporation. He said the government has not arrested any social, political, or religious leader.
In response to a question, Sinha said that cops have been deployed around the house of Mirwaiz for his ‘safety’. “In 2019 also, no Public Safety Act was slapped against him. His father had unfortunately been assassinated. Police deployed around him are for his security,” he said.
“It is he (Mirwaiz) who has to decide what he wants. From our side, he has neither been arrested nor placed under house arrest,” Sinha said.
Mirwaiz-led All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has been issuing weekly statements about his house arrest. The party has been demanding the immediate release of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
As per the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq completed three years in house detention in Srinagar’s Nigeen area with no formal case against him in August this year. As per his party, he was arrested on August 4, 2019, a day ahead of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional position.
The statements issued to the media by ‘Mirwaiz Manzil’ from time to time claim that all channels of communication are blocked to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and all outreach to people, friends, and party cadre are being barred.
Reacting to the claim made by LG, Peoples Conference Chairman Sajad Gani Lone in a tweet said: “I think LG sahib needs to verify facts. His statements don’t reflect reality. May I humbly state that the tradition of locking up leaders and then denying is an old worn-out tradition. It has been happening for the last three decades.”
APHC shocked over LG’s statement about Mirwaiz
APHC expressed amazement on the video statement given to media by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, where he refuted that the APHC chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is under house detention for the past three years since August 2019, but instead the forces’ vehicles and personnel stationed outside his house are there for his safety.
In a statement issued to the news agency KNO, APHC said that such blatant misrepresentation of facts and denial of his incarceration is unbelievable. “Mirwaiz for the last three years has forcibly not been allowed to come out of his house despite repeated appeals and implorations from all sections of people to the authorities, including religious ulemas across the state.”
He said, “Newspaper and electronic media reports bear witness to it. Being the Mirwaiz, he is even stopped from going to Jamia Masjid on Fridays to deliver religious sermons from its pulpit which is the centuries-old tradition in J&K or to visit other religious places on important religious occasions. Except close relatives, no one is allowed to enter the house. How can these facts are negated and claims of his not being under house arrest made!”
APHC said that if the authorities now want to release the Mirwaiz, it is welcome, but giving such misleading statements to save face, is ‘mischievous’.
“It also wants to clear the air on LG’s other statement in that interview that APHC leadership has been playing both sides,” APHC said, adding that its chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq like his forefathers, has always believed in and supported the fundamental truth of democracy – people’s right to make a choice in their future through non violent means, without fear or favour; and the subsequent belief that this is the road to lasting peace and prosperity for the entire subcontinent.
“Mirwaiz and his forefathers represented and defended this basic interest of people of J&K in their engagements with both India and Pakistan and in the course suffered exile, Shahadat and incarcerations. It is the belief in these ideals that helped the APHC chairman bear the harshness and loneliness of house incarceration for the past three years. 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 was only to find a resolution and get the people of Kashmir out of the vicious cycle of violence,” it said.
APHC said that “its stand was and is consistent – the conflict of J&K has to be resolved as per the aspirations of its people and to the satisfaction of other two parties involved in the conflict namely India and Pakistan, through peaceful means preferably dialogue and deliberations. APHC has in the past and will in the future support every endeavour in this direction, safeguarding the interests of people of J&K.”
Meanwhile, it said that if the authorities have now decided to release the Mirwaiz, let him be allowed to deliver the Friday sermon at Jama Masjid this Friday and let them not stop people from assembling there to listen to him.
APHC reiterated its appeal to release all political prisoners, youth and activists detained in jails across India.
J&K’s Grand Mufti seeks immediate release of Mirwaiz
The Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir and the senior leader of Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam, while strongly reacting to the three-year-long detention of the MMU founder & patron Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir Dr Moulvi Muhammad Umar Farooq, has demanded his immediate release.
All leading religious, social and academic personalities, including the Grand Mufti and the civil society are strongly demanding the release of Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir on the completion of his three years of ‘unjustified, illegal and arbitrary’ detention so that he could fulfil his responsibilities toward Kashmiri society and people.
In his statement issued to the news agency KNO, Mufti Azam said that apart from his personality as the Mirwaiz of Kashmir, Dr Moulvi Muhammad Umar Farooq is a beloved leader of the people and his house arrest brings great pain and agony among the masses and is hurting the emotions and sentiments of one and all.
The Grand Mufti questioned that “according to the rulers, if the situation in Kashmir has changed after August 5, 2019, then is it the result of this change by keeping the historical Jamia Masjid Srinagar closed under various pretexts and preventing the Muslims of Kashmir from praying and worshipping in this central place of worship?”
Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam said that disallowing prayers on the auspicious and significant occasions of Jumma-tul-Vida and Eid-ul-Adha has never happened before in his knowledge. “Such incidents will be written in black letters in history because such actions are tantamount to sheer interference in religion,” he added.
The Grand Mufti said that along with ensuring the immediate release of Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir, the central Jamia Masjid Srinagar should also be kept open so that he can fulfill the official duties that the Institution of Mirwaiz enjoins upon him.