Branded anti-national for advocating peace: Mirwaiz

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 9/23/2023 5:36:22 AM

After a gap of four years, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq delivering the Friday sermon from the pulpit of Jamia Masjid Srinagar on September 22, 2023. KT Photo/Qazi Irshad
SRINAGAR, September 22: Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, one of Kashmir’s prominent religious leaders, addressed Friday prayers at Srinagar Grand Mosque following his release after four-year long house detention this morning.
Mirwaiz said he was released following a court order and described past four years of his house detention as worst period of his life after his father Mirwaiz Farooq’s death.
Addressing a well-attended gathering at the sprawling mosque Mirwaiz said “that despite advocating for peace, it is unfortunate that he was branded as anti-national, anti-peace and separatist as well”.
Earlier, Mirwaiz broke down after he stood on the pulpit amid intense sloganeering from the people in the gathering.
“I was allowed to deliver sermon on the pulpit of Jamia Masjid after 212 consecutive Fridays. People are aware that after August, 04, 2019, I was kept under house detention and I was not being allowed to move out of my home, due to which I couldn’t perform my duties as Mirwaiz” he said.
Mirwaiz said that after approaching the court, a few police officers visited him yesterday and informed that he is being released and can visit Jamia Masjid tomorrow to offer Friday prayers.
“I cannot utter my sentiments, but it is all because of the prayers of people that I am here again to deliver the sermon,” he said, adding that it was quite difficult for him to stay away from the pulpit for four years. He said that after August 5, 2019, people have faced difficult times as J&K’s special identity was snatched and was bifurcated in two Union Territories.
“As a Mirwaiz, I have the responsibility to raise the voice for the people. Since Hurriyat Conference continued to raise the voice, but the media stopped using our statements. I want to tell my people that it is the time to be patient, to have faith in the Almighty,” he said. He said that Hurriyat believes that J&K’s one part is in India while the rest two are in Pakistan and China, and by merging them fully J&K will be complete, which it was on August 14, 1947.
“Therefore, this issue needs to be resolved. J&K issue can be a territorial issue for many, but for the people of J&K it is a humanitarian issue,” he said.
Reacting to the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Ukraine issue, Mirwaiz said that he was right in saying that the present era is not of war. “We too have been advocating for the resolution of J&K issue through dialogue. Following the path of peace, we had to bear difficulties, but unfortunately, we were branded as separatists, anti-national and anti-peace. But we don’t have any personal ambition, we only want peaceful resolution of J&K issue,” he said.
Advocating return of Kashmiri migrants, Mirwaiz said “It is because of our peaceful mission that we continued to appeal for the return of Kashmiri migrants.”
“We believe in peaceful coexistence between communities and nations between the strong and the weak, between the majority and the minority. We have always advocated the return of Kashmiri Pandits and disapproved of making this human issue a political one.”
He also demanded release of all political prisoners, journalists, lawyers, civil society members and the youth as well. After delivering sermons, Mirwaiz appealed the gathering to leave from the Jamia Masjid peacefully.
Following is the full text of his speech:
My dear people,
I am meeting you after 4 years and nearly two months. Since 4th of August 2019, I was placed under detention in my home by the authorities and not allowed to move out or to meet with people. All my rights and liberties were curtailed. Despite repeated appeals from one and all I was not released. And finally, after taking this matter to the court, yesterday I was informed by the police officials who came to visit me that authorities had decided to release me from house detention and allow me to go to Jamia Masjid tomorrow.
So Alhumdulilah, I am here today after 4 long years. It is a very emotional moment for me. I thank almighty Allah that he made it possible and once again today I am in Jamia, among you. It has also been made possible by your duas for me and your love for your deen that you want to see the pulpit of Jama Masjid as the seat religious propagation and learning, thrive.
To be away from you for such a long time has been very difficult on me, but you my people are my strength that helped me in go through this trying time. You are always in my heart my thoughts and my prayers. You are a strong and kind people.
Since August 2019, I am aware it has not been easy on you, there have been assaults on our identity. The abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, the downgrading of J&K into a Union Territory from a state, the dismemberment of Ladakh from it and post that new laws and diktats are being imposed incessantly through the Reorganisation Act, unfortunately are harsh unilateral decisions of disempowerment.
The institution of the Mirwaiz believes in outreach. It believes in dialogue and reason. It is incumbent upon the Mirwaiz, referred to as Naib-e-Rasool, to convey the truth to power and to people, and play his role in the interest of people and peace.
History is witness to the fact that the Mirwaiz has always propagated dialogue and accord, even at the cost of personal loss and suffering.
Despite my being under house arrest, APHC has all along-since early 2020 when communication ban was gradually lifted from the valley post the August 2019 changes, been voicing its anguish over the developing situation. But due to the gag on its statements, especially in the local media both electronic and print, our voice is not allowed to be heard.
So, in the current time when there is absolutely no space for us, or for the expression of our opinion and aspirations and our concerns, what can we do. This is the time to conserve, be patient and act responsibly and repose complete faith in God who is the all-powerful the all mighty. We have to hold on tightly to the rope of faith and belief. As the Quran guides us “and hold fast by the rope of Allah all together and be not disunited” the holy Quran guides us: And further tells us “indeed after hardship there is relief”.
I and my colleagues in APHC have always believed that by virtue of the fact that a part of J&K is in India, a part with Pakistan and some part with China too, makes the state of Jammu and Kashmir as its existed in August 1947 and its people divided, and so an issue which has to be addressed and resolved. This is a fact. International community has ratified this too. Families and friends living on different sides divided by an artificial line want to meet and share their lives, share their happiness with each other, mourn their loss together.
This is a human problem for us the people of Jammu and Kashmir, not a territorial tug of war. We also want to move beyond it.
As PM Modi rightly said that this is not an era of war. We have always believed and participated in efforts of resolution through an alternative to violent means which is dialogue and reconciliation. We have personally suffered for pursuing this route. We are not so-called separatists or peace disrupters but realist resolution seekers. We have no personal ambition but to represent the interests and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are our basic concern and people want settlement, and peace bringing prosperity with it, but on their (peoples) terms.
We believe in peaceful coexistence between communities and nations between the strong and the weak, between the majority and the minority. We have always advocated the return of Kashmiri pandits and disapproved of making this human issue a political one. Stern approach to deal with issues is a dangerous thing. It leads to human Rights violations. Dozens of our leaders, men and women are languishing in jails for years, thousands of young men and boys, journalists and scribes, human Rights activists and lawyers are suffering incarceration. They need to be released as soon as possible. Their health and families are suffering.
Finally, to my youth who are the wealth of the nation, I say I respect your feelings , but I request you to be patient and have faith, and strengthen your connection with the almighty and his messenger. That is the key to survival and success.
I would also like to express gratitude to all people including, politicians of all hues, Ulemas, traders, civil society members and others across board from all regions of J&K, who repeatedly asked for my release on various occasions.
Peaceful Conclusion of Friday Prayers Led by Mirwaiz: Div Com
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Vijay Kumar Bidhuri, announced the successful and peaceful conclusion of Friday prayers led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq from the Hurriyat Conference (M) at the historic Jamia Srinagar Masjid, according to news agency KNS.
Bidhuri, while speaking to reporters as per Kashmir News Observer (KNS), credited the peaceful outcome to the ongoing peace process. He expressed appreciation for the efforts of individuals and agencies that made this decision possible, emphasizing the equal role of every citizen in society.
He also highlighted the societal challenges, particularly the issue of drug menace, and underscored the collective responsibility, including that of religious leaders, in addressing such concerns.



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