Rehan Qayoom Mir
Srinagar, Sep 22: Emotional scenes were witnessed at the historic Jamia Masjid as the Kashmir’s head priest Mirwaiz Umar Farooq returned to the pulpit of the grand masjid after a gap of four years.
Mirwaiz couldn’t control his emotions and broke down. People who were present at the masjid in hundreds of numbers were seen crying. Mirwaiz delivered the Friday congregational sermon at the historic masjid for the first time after August 5, 2019, when Centre rolled back Article 370 and sliced the erstwhile State of J&K into two Union Territories—J&K and Ladakh.
“The day is no less than the Eid for us as Mirwaiz is among us for the first time after a long gap,” said a group of worshipers inside Jamia Masjid. Many were seen praying for Mirwaiz’s health while some asserted that their prayers get answered when Mirwaiz raises his hands towards Almighty Allah. “He (Mirwaiz) is a spiritual leader. We are so happy to see him back,” a group of women told KNO as tears rolled down on their cheeks.
Addressing the gathering, emotionally charged Mirwaiz, said: “It is all because of the prayers of people that I am here again to deliver the sermon. It was quite difficult for me to stay away from the pulpit for four years. As a Mirwaiz, I have the responsibility to raise the voice for the people.”
Reacting to the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Ukraine issue, Mirwaiz said that he was right in saying that the present era is not of war. “We are following the path of peace, we had to bear difficulties, but unfortunately, we were branded as separatists, anti-national and anti-peace.”
Mirwaiz said that he doesn’t have any personal ambitions. “It is because of our peaceful mission that we continued to appeal for the return of Kashmiri migrants,” he said.
He also demanded release of all political prisoners, journalists, lawyers, civil society members and the youth as well. After delivering sermons, Mirwaiz appealed to the gathering to leave the Jamia Masjid peacefully and also appealed to the youth to stay calm, maintain peace and to have faith.
Kashmir’s head priest also said that he believes in peaceful coexistence between communities and nations between the strong and the weak, between the majority and the minority. “We have always advocated the return of Kashmiri Pandits and disapproved of making this human issue a political one. Stern approaches to deal with issues are dangerous things. It leads to human Rights violations,” he said.