Srinagar, Sept 22 (IANS): Overwhelmed by emotions, senior separatist and religious leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said on Friday that the four years of detention under house arrest were the worst period of his life after the death of his father in 1990.
Mirwaiz Umar delivered the Friday sermon at the historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of old Srinagar city today after he was set free from house arrest.
Choked with emotion, he cried while ascending the pulpit at the Jamia Masjid.
In his sermon, the Mirwaiz appealed for peace and appealed Kashmir Pandits to return back to the Valley.
"I was allowed to deliver the sermon at the Jamia Masjid after 212 consecutive Fridays.
"People are aware that after August 4, 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 that after approaching the court, a few police officers visited him on Thursday and informed him that he is being released and can visit Jamia Masjid 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 UTs.
"J&K might be a territorial issue for many, but it is a humanitarian issue and must be resolved through dialogue. Despite advocating peace, it is unfortunate that I was branded as anti-national, anti-peace and separatist as well.
"As the 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 time to be patient, to keep faith in the Almighty.
"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, as it was on August 14,1947."
Referring 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.
"It is because of our peaceful mission that we continue to appeal for the return of Kashmiri migrants."
The Mirwaiz demanded release of all political prisoners, detained journalists, lawyers, civil society members and the youth.