Protesters Clash With Police In Downtown Srinagar

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APHC Condemns ‘Govt’s Flip-flop’

Srinagar: Scores of civilian protesters broke into spontaneous protests inside Jamia Masjid Srinagar after the government barred Kashmir’s head priest and senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq from offering Friday prayers, a day after several reports said that he has been released from 20-month long house detention.

Soon after the Friday prayers ended, eyewitnesses said, the protesters assembled outside the Masjid and raised “pro-freedom” slogans. They said that the forces fired teargas shells to disperse the protesting civilians. The protesters pelted stones on forces triggering minor clashes.

Government had placed in elaborate security arrangements around the old city to apparently block any protests in the area.

While several media reports earlier this week said that Mirwaiz Umar, who head the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, has been released from 20-month log detention, but a statement issued by the amalgam said that Mirwaiz was barred from moving out of his house.

In a statement All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) expressed strong resentment and regret that after announcing the release of it’s chairman from twenty month long house detention since August 2019, Government authorities went back on their decision.

The APHC said that late last night police officials visited the Mirwaiz’s residence to convey to him that he continues to be under house arrest, and will not be allowed to go to Jamia Masjid for Friday prayers and Majlis waz-o-tableeg. “And since early morning additional forces have been deployed outside his house and in the area converting it into a garrison.”

APHC condemned “authoritarian flip flop of the Government”.

The statement said that “this imperious decision of the authorities has hurt the sentiments of people and further aggrieved them, as they were eagerly awaiting for Mirwaiz’s release from arbitrary house arrest”.

MMU Condemns Govt Action 

Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU) Jammu & Kashmir Friday expressed strong resentment over the continued house arrest of MMU and APHC Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for the last 20 months, saying the undue restrictions on the peaceful activities of the Valley’s topmost religious leader and preventing him from performing his duties as the Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir was unacceptable.

In a statement MMU condemned the “autocratic approach” of the authorities for not allowing Mirwaiz to address the faithful at the historic Jamia Masjid despite announcing on Thursday that he is no more under house arrest.

“Imams and Khateebs across the Valley said in their sermons that not allowing the Mirwaiz to visit Jamia Masjid and deploying additional number of police personnel outside his residence and blocking roads leading to his house by placing armoured vehicles, barricades and concertina wires, was sheer interference in the religious affairs and unacceptable.”

The MMU said the people from across the Valley had come to Jamia Masjid Srinagar to listen to the sermon of Mirwaiz.

“However, they were severely disappointed as well as angered with the news that the Mirwaiz was not allowed by the authorities to even move outside his residence, which resulted in a massive peaceful protest wherein people carried banners slamming the administration,” statement said.

It said such repressive measures by the authorities was not only unacceptable but deeply hurt the sentiments of the masses. (With Inputs From CNS)

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