Mirwaiz Seeks Judicial Intervention over Restriction on Leading Prayers

Mirwaiz Seeks Judicial Intervention over Restriction on Leading Prayers

After his absence from Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid for nearly three months, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq has approached the High Court of J&K and Ladakh challenging continued restrictions on his religious duties. Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal has given the J&K administration a “last and final opportunity” for the senior additional advocate general to respond to the concerns raised in his petition.

Mirwaiz’s writ petition had sought directions from the court to the J&K Chief Secretary, Department of Home and the police chief in Kashmir “not to create any impediments in the day-to-day life of the petitioner, including his free movement as a citizen, and to allow him to perform and enjoy the freedom and liberty guaranteed to petitioner under the Constitution”.
After receiving no response from the Senior AAG, the court on February 19, “reluctantly and in the interest of justice”, provided another week’s time to respond to the petition. The case is listed again on March 6.

The court also stated this “shall be the last and final opportunity” for the UT to respond.

Mirwaiz was released from detention at his residence in September, but has not been allowed to lead Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid since October. In his petition, he argued that he has been placed in “illegal detention” and that this is “discrimination in real sense and in real perspective”, which goes against Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The petition also stated that “such unwarranted action of respondents is a deliberate attempt to hurt the religious sentiments of people of J&K”, and that his liberty of movement should be restored by the intervention of the court.

He told The Indian Express, “After my release in September 2023 after one four years of arbitrary house detention, I was only allowed to attend three consecutive Friday congregations in Jamia Masjid. Since then, I have been prevented from going to Jamia Masjid on Fridays or addressing the faithful in any other mosque of religious congregations as the Mirwaiz.”

He said that whenever the Anjuman (the mosque’s management committee) approached the authorities “they dilly dallied on the response, saying they will check with their higher-ups and get back, which they never do”.

While he is allowed to travel with security on other days of the week and also took a trip to Delhi recently, Mirwaiz said that “despite the important religious occasion of Shab-e-Miraj, I was again not allowed to go to Jamia Masjid”.

With Ramzan approaching and daily prayers taking place at the grand mosque among other religious duties he leads, he said that he is concerned he may not be allowed to leave home again.

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