Srinagar: A sense of excitement and anticipation fills the air in Srinagar as locals have gathered outside the historic Jamia Masjid in the heart of the city, clutching flower garlands and offering prayers, in hopes of welcoming Mirwaiz Umar Farooq as he is expected to lead Friday prayers today.
If this comes to fruition, it will mark the first time since 2019 that Mirwaiz leading the congregation, following his house arrest in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 of Jammu and Kashmir by Government of India.
Mirwaiz’s confinement to his residence for the past four years has been a matter of concern for many as various political parties and religious leaders have urged for his release repeatedly. His potential return to lead Friday prayers holds significant symbolic value.
Earlier this week, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court issued a notice to the Union Territory’s administration, seeking an explanation for Mirwaiz’s prolonged house arrest. The court’s intervention has added weight to the ongoing debate surrounding the restrictions placed on political and religious leaders in the region.
Various politicians including Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Altaf Bukhari, Salman Nizami, Sajad Lone and others have encouraged the deciosn to release the Hurriyat Conference chief.
Waqf Board chief Darakshan Andrabi has shared a photograph of her with Mirwaiz at his residence on social media platform X. She welcome the JK administration’s decision to release the head priest of Kashmir.