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J&K: Devotees Decry Mirwaiz Umar's Detention, Absence From Jama Masjid for 200 Fridays

Anees Zargar |
Anjuman-i-Auqaf Jama Masjid said it was a record time since the chief cleric had been barred from delivering the Friday sermons from the mosque’s pulpit.

jama masjid

Muslim devotees, including women and elderly, carried placards demanding Mirwaiz’s release.

Srinagar: Scores of devotees held a protest in the historic Jama Masjid on Friday against the continued detention of chief cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq marking his absence from the central mosque for 200 consecutive Fridays. 


Muslim devotees, including women and elderly, carried placards demanding Mirwaiz’s release and raised slogans in his favour during the weekly congregational prayers attended by hundreds of his followers from across the region.


“We don’t want any tussle or fight but the release of our Mirwaiz. We are being denied our rights. Although there is no government here but we urge the Lt Governor administration to release him,” a woman devotee said.


Another supporter of Mirwaiz said that his absence from the mosque hurts the religious sentiments of the Muslim community. “This is a place where God’s word is recited and these prayers are led by Mirwaiz historically, it is sad that we are being denied our rights,” he added.


The mosque’s management body Anjuman-i-Auqaf Jama Masjid said that it has been a record time since the Mirwaiz of Kashmir has been barred by the authorities from the centuries old tradition of delivering the Friday sermons from the mosque’s pulpit.


“The pain and anguish this religious repression on the Muslims of the valley has caused them is extremely unfortunate. Despite repeated appeals for his release from all sections and quarters of J&K and outside the authorities have denied the spiritual solace,” the statement from the body read.

Mirwaiz Umar was arrested as part of the massive crackdown by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Central government in August 2019 as they abrogated Articles 370 and 35 A and downsized Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.

Imam Hai of Jama Masjid Ahmed Syed Naqshbandi, who leads the Namaz prayers, expressed his dismay over administrative apathy despite repeated appeals to allow the Mirwaiz to resume his responsibilities as the lead Waiz


The statement added that ahead of Ramzan earlier this year, a delegation of prominent religious leaders and scholars as part of the Muthahida Majlis e Ulema (MMU), an amalgam of over 40 social and religious groups, had sent a letter to the LG requesting for an appointment with regard to discussing the release of the Mirwaiz and other issues but they have not received any reply so far despite reminders.

“While the authorities are thoughtful of the sentiments associated with the annual Amarnath yatra and provide all assistance to the pilgrims for its smooth conduct which is how it should be, why are the sentiments of the Muslim community being ignored and hurt by keeping the Mirwaiz away from the Jama Masjid?” Imam Hai was quoted as saying. 

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