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Huriyat leader Mirwaiz prevented from going to mosque, house arrest speculated

Earlier, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said that he was a free man and there was no restriction on his movement out of his house.

Statesman News Service | Jammu |

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was, on Friday, stopped by the police from leaving his residence at Nigeen in Srinagar for the congregational prayers at the downtown Jamia Masjid days after Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said that he was a free man and there was no restriction on his movement out of his house.

The chief cleric of Kashmir had decided to deliver a sermon on Friday for the first time since August 5, 2019 when he was put under house arrest following the abrogation of Article 370. A large number of people had turned up at the mosque to listen to him after a gap of three years.

The Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz posted his statement on its Twitter handle: “I started for the Jamia Masjid around 12:40 p.m. All I intended to do was offer my namaz. However, policemen outside stopped me from leaving my residence. I told them that a statement on my release was made by a responsible person who heads J&K.”

The Hurriyat also tweeted: “Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has been barred from offering Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid. He was on his way to deliver the sermon before a group of police stopped him. A week ago, Lt. Guv Sinha had claimed that he was free.”

They also uploaded a video in which Mirwaiz is seen pleading before the policemen that he be allowed to proceed to the Jamia Masjid where he could be heard saying he was going to offer prayers and not to create noise.

“We are calling on all media to reach Nigeen as soon as possible,” the Hurriyat tweeted.

In a recent interview with the BBC in Srinagar, Lt Governor Sinha said, “Mirwaiz is neither under house arrest nor detained.”

The police have not issued any statement on stopping Mirwaiz outside his house so far.

Meanwhile, people who had assembled at the Jamia Masjid waved placards seeking release of Mirwaiz. Security downtown around the Jamia Masjid was tightened and the movement of vehicles was not allowed near the mosque where people were allowed to offer prayers.