After two weeks of restrictions, Friday prayers were allowed at Srinagar’s main mosque, the Jamia Masjid at Nowhatta. Addressing crowds at the mosque before the prayers, Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Omar Farooq stated, “There is no military solution to the issue of Kashmir. Do not run your politics around Kashmir. An atmosphere is being created to target Kashmiris with elections in mind. It is because of their own policies that young people in Kashmir are ready to sacrifice their lives.”
Without naming the NIA, he said, “Whoever needs to ask us anything can come here and do so. However, we will remain strong on our stand.” Speaking to The Indian Express, Mirwaiz said he was yet to receive a second summons, “but we will take a call on going to the NIA or not based on whether the concerns we had raised earlier have been addressed.”
On Wednesday, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had sent a written reply to the NIA through his counsel, stating that he will not be able to appear before the agency in the capital in a case of alleged terror funding, citing a threat to his safety. He also said he is being victimised for his political views advocating the cause of Kashmir.
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman said he would instead be available to appear before the agency in Srinagar. The NIA had asked him to appear before it in Delhi on Monday. He is the first separatist leader to refuse to appear before the agency in person in Delhi.
Following the crackdown on the Jamaat-e -Islami leadership and a series of arrests, authorities did not allow Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid for two weeks.
Mirwaiz said, “Our fight isn’t against a country or leader but against the wrong policies of the Indian government that has been trying to suppress this issue through military might for the last 70 years.”
Following the prayers, scores of people demonstrated outside the mosque against the “harassment” Mirwaiz was being subjected to.