India has released a prominent Kashmir separatist leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, from four years of house arrest on Friday, September 22, 2023. Farooq, who is the chairman of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference and a religious cleric, was allowed to lead the Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid, the grand mosque of Srinagar.
Farooq was detained at his Nigeen residence on August 5, 2019, a day before the Indian government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Farooq’s release came days after he filed a petition in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, challenging his continued house arrest. The court had given four weeks’ time to the Jammu and Kashmir administration to file its response to his plea.
Farooq broke into tears as he addressed the congregation at the Jamia Masjid, where he had not been allowed to offer prayers since August 2019. He thanked the people for their support and solidarity and said he would continue to work for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue.