SRINAGAR: Ahead of the auspicious Islamic occasion of Mehraj-e-Alam, which falls on March 11, moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was released from house detention on Wednesday after 19 months. He had been under house arrest since August 2019 when the Centre scrapped the special status of J&K and split the erstwhile state into two Union territories of J&K and Ladakh.
According to officials, Mirwaiz was allowed to move out of his house at Nigeen in Srinagar’s Hazratbal area from Tuesday. “I am happy to learn that I am a free man now,” Mirwaiz told TOI on Wednesday.
A Hurriyat spokesman, however, said the decision of the release has not been officially conveyed to the Mirwaiz so far.
Mirwaiz said: “I will now undertake a campaign against drug addiction, which has started eating up our society, particularly our youths.”
He said he will ensure that there is no law and order problem in the locality around Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of the city.
Meanwhile, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the release of Mirwaiz from “arbitrary detention”. She termed it a good news for political, social and religious wellbeing of the people of J&K.
Mehbooba tweeted, “Good to hear about Mirwaiz’s release from arbitrary detention. I hope that hundreds of Kashmiri men languishing in jails in & outside J&K will also be released soon. It’s time they returned home to their families.”
Several mainstream politicians, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba herself, who were also arrested following the August 2019 move of the Centre and against whom the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) was slapped, were released in a staggered manner earlier.