The Hurriyat Conference faction led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Tuesday derided former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s anger over the desecration of Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid.

Mehbooba Mufti had on Monday telephoned Mirwaiz to express her condemnation at the attempted desecration of Jamia Masjid.

A spokesman for the Hurriyat said, “The phone call of Mehbooba Mufti condemning the Jamia incident which she is broadcasting in media for obvious reasons is quite ironical as it was during her tenure as Chief Minister that people were barred from offering prayers at the mosque most of the time.”

The spokesman said the mosque was locked down for three months in 2016 and in 2017, for the first time, even Jumat-ul-Vida (Last Friday) congregation during Ramadan was not allowed. In 2018, 16 Friday prayers were barred at the mosque.

“During that period Mirwaiz was either put under house arrest or in jail as in 2016. If Mehbooba Mufti during her tenure as Chief Minister had the same feelings towards Jamia Masjid which she calls ‘the landmark and most important religious and social institution of Kashmir’, she should have shown the courage to stand up for the religious rights of Muslims of Valley instead of presiding over the bans and bars on Jamia Masjid. Then her ‘outrage’ would at least have been sincere,” the spokesman added.

The incident had occurred on Friday, December 28, 2018, after the congregational Friday prayers when most of the people had left the mosque, when a group of masked youngsters, carrying ISIS flags, forcibly entered the historic Jamia Masjid and created a ruckus. The youngsters were later chased away by those present there, officials said.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who delivered the Friday sermon at the mosque, had also left before the incident took place.

“A group of youngsters, wearing masks, forced their entry into the mosque and rushed to the pulpit where the Mirwaiz delivers the sermon. One of them stood atop the pulpit and shouted slogans. They were carrying ISIS flags,” said an official.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq expressed his resentment via twitter, “Deeply shocked and saddened by the attempt to violate the sanctity of the pulpit at #JamaMasjid by a group miscreants late on Friday! Such hooliganism that harms the mosque or misuses the name of Islam to spread anarchy and fear among people will not be tolerated at all!

“Jama Masjid is the fountainhead of both the religious identity and the political aspirations of the people of J&K , engaged in the struggle for Right to Self-determination, inspired by islamic values of seeking justice and resistance to oppression.”

Mehbooba Mufti had tweeted, “Appearance of a few youth with IS flag in Jama Masjid Srinagar is desecration of the most important institution of Kashmir’s religious, social life. Called @MirwaizKashmir, Umar sahheb to convey my outrage.

“Jama Masjid & it’s pulpit are most imp landmarks of our religious, cultural moorings. Can’t allow barbaric forces to defile it in the name of Islam.”

(With agency inputs)