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Mainstream Leaders Back Mirwaiz Umar; Slam J&K Admin for Denying his Detention

Anees Zargar |
Lt Governor Manoj Sinha is being strongly opposed by all parties for recently denying the APHC leader’s house arrest.
Mirwaiz Umar

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration led by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha is being strongly opposed by the mainstream political leadership for denying the detention of Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who continues to remain under house arrest since August 2019.

In a recent interview, Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha had claimed that Mirwaiz Umar was neither under house arrest, nor under arrest and that the police was actually guarding him for security reasons, a claim that was refuted by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) led by Mirwaiz Umar.

President of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti termed Sinha’s remarks as a “lie” and argued that Mirwaiz should be allowed to attend the congregational prayers next Friday if he is free.

“Bald faced lie. GOI is simply intolerant of every contrarian opinion. If Mirwaiz isn’t under house arrest, then he should be allowed to discharge his religious duties. Admin should walk the talk by letting him deliver next Friday’s sermon at Jama Masjid,” the former chief minister tweeted.

On Sunday, Mehbooba claimed she was herself  “detained” at her residence and barred from visiting the family of Sunil Kumar, a Kashmiri Hindu recently killed by suspected militants in Shopian on August 16 as she criticised the administration’s role in handling the situation.

“My attempts to visit Sunil Kumar’s family at Chotigam today were scuttled by the administration. The same administration claims that locking us up is for our own security while they themselves visit every nook & corner of the Valley,” she wrote.

National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar  Abdullah said that the Lt. Governor has been saying one thing while the police “does something entirely different”. The former chief minister said that the authorities have been using the security concerns as a ruse to confine people inside their homes.

“The same way my colleagues were locked in their homes “for their own safety” for months on 4th Aug 2019; the same way we get trucks parked outside our gates every once in a while because “inputs” suggest an attack on Gupkar road is imminent,” Omar said.

Mirwaiz Umar was also backed by Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone who, like Omar Abdullah, said that it has become what he called a “tradition” to detain leaders and then denying the same.

“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 3 decades,” Lone said.

The Jammu and Kashmir Awami Action Committee (AAC), a socio-religious group led by Mirwaiz, termed the “denial” by Lt. Governor as “fiction and far from reality and truth”.

The Awami Action Committee argued that if the authorities have set him free in view of the LG’s statement, he should be allowed to offer Friday  prayers in the Jama Masjid, and that there will be no restrictions on him to move out or for others to meet him at his residence.

In a statement, however, the AAC said that on Saturday journalists were barred from entering Mirwaiz Manzil at Nigeen locality in Srinagar to meet Mirwaiz. The AAC added that is a reality that Mirwaiz Umar has been under “illegal and arbitrary” house detention since August 5, 2019.

The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), which Mirwaiz heads, earlier on August 19 also refuted the claims made by the Sinha and stated that it’s stand remains consistent that 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 – India and Pakistan.

A prominent religious and political leader Mirwaiz Umar is often considered as a “moderate” in the separatist politics and favours the resolution of Kashmir issue through dialogue and deliberations. He has participated in such talks earlier during the tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee as India’s Prime Minister.

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