Srinagar: Imam-o-Khateeb (the chief preacher) of historic Jamia Masjid in summer capital on Friday asserted that “Kashmiris are fighting for ‘Azaadi Barai Islam” (Freedom for Islam).
Addressing the congregation of Muslims in Jamia Masjid, which is situated in Nowhatta area of Old Srinagar, Imam-i-Hai Syed Ahmad Syed Naqshbandi, who addresses the faithful in the absence of Valley’s chief cleric, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said, “We are fighting for freedom after which we will follow Islam as a way of life.”
Mirwaiz Umar, who heads his faction of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, was detained by authorities in his home today. He was disallowed to lead the mandatory Friday prayers after which he was scheduled to lead a protest demonstration called by the joint resistance leadership.
Explaining further the Imam said, “We won’t go wayward (or allow our society) after we achieve freedom.”
Amid slogans by the faithful, he added, “Our struggle is for Azaadi Barai Islam.”
In his telephonic address to the congregation – which was not clearly audible – Mirwaiz castigated J&K Government for restricting his movement to four walls of his Nigeen residence.
“This is state terrorism,” he said.
The J&K government has been, intermittently, detaining the Hurriyat Conference (M) chief from reaching and addressing the Muslims on Fridays.
Mirwaiz strongly condemned rulers for their aggressive and “dictatorial” approach in dealing with the resistance leadership especially in the context of slapping of Public Safety Act (PSA) on chief of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Asiya Andrabi and her colleague Sofi Fehmeeda. The duo has been shifted to Amphala jail in winter capital of J&K.
As a legacy of his forefathers, Umar Farooq was baptized as ‘Mirwaiz’ – chief cleric – after assassination of his father, Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq in 1990 by “unknown” gun men. Late Farooq’s death anniversary is being observed on May 21.
“While we are forcibly disallowed from even commemorating our beloved martyrs or peacefully protest the tyranny of lawless laws like the infamous PSAs imposed on us with impunity, by being repeatedly detained at homes or in jails, efforts are on by the collaborators to host random meets in order to create a false smoke screen of business as usual and all is well kind of impression and divert attention from the reality of Kashmir and the severe repression perpetrated by the state upon the people,” he said.
“Such diversionary tactics and thrusting of bans and curbs to contain the situation and maintain the status quo will not work. People of Kashmir and the leadership are clear that our political will has to honoured and it is for this cause that great sacrifices have been made and are being made by one and all in Kashmir. No amount of tyranny, coercion, vilification intimidation or threats by the powers that rule over us through their agencies including sections of their media, deter the leadership and people from pursuing their rightful cause,” he added.
After the prayers ended, people had a protest demonstration outside the central Masjid seeking release of political prisoners. Amid pro-freedom and pro-Pakistan sloganeering, the protesters castigated the detention of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
Similarly, 89-year-old Hurriyat patriarch, Syed Ali Geelani, who is suffering from multiple ailments, has been restricted to his Hyderpora residence for most of the time since 2010 public uprising.
He has not been allowed to move out of his home where from his Tehreek-e-Hurriyat operates as well.
It may be noted here that militant commander, Zakir Moosa, in a recent audio message, had warned Hurriyat Conference leadership.
“Our fight is to establish Khilafat in Kashmir,” he had said, “People who die, die for a cause, which is sacred and religious in nature.”
However, a day later, he clarified his statement saying his message was not aimed at targeting Hurriyat Conference leadership. But, he disassociated from Hizb ul Mujahideen, he had joined some years ago, after the militant outfit sharply reacted to his statement saying that the ‘views expressed were personal’.
Naming Geelani, Moosa said, “Geelani sahib has been striving for Azaadi Barai Islam and I have no problem with him.”