Srinagar: A face-off is likely between the J&K administration and the management of the Jamia Masjid, Srinagar, as the Valley’s chief cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq decided to deliver his first Friday sermon this week, for the first time since August 5, 2019.

Sources said the vehicles once blocking the gate of the Mirwaiz’s residence in Srinagar’s Nigeen area have been moved away and stationed at a distance.

J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha recently said “the Mirwaiz was a free man and should decide what to do”.

According to the Hurriyat, the Mirwaiz has been confined to his house and has not been allowed to meet anyone since August 5, 2019, when the Centre ended J&K semi-autonomous status.

‘The Mirwaiz was not detained’

In an interview to the BBC in Srinagar, J&K L-G Manoj Sinha, however, said, “the Mirwaiz was not detained”. “In the past, his father was assassinated unfortunately. We keep security around his house to protect him. He needs to decide what he wants to do. He is neither under house arrest nor detained,” L-G Sinha said.

Immediately after the BBC interview, the Mirwaiz tried to come out and talk to the news channel “but was not allowed to step out of the house”.

Now, all eyes are on the upcoming Friday whether the L-G administration will allow the Mirwaiz to visit Jamia Masjid or not.

After August 5, 2019, security agencies in J&K had opposed any move to allow the Mirwaiz to attend any religious function and even closed the mosque for many weeks for Friday congregational prayers “to avoid any law and order problem. (The Hindu)

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