Sheikh Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has resumed his imamate duties, delivering the Friday sermon at the primary mosque in the city of Srinagar, Kashmir, after enduring four years of enforced residency.
Social media platforms were abuzz with video clips showing Sheikh Mirwaiz attempting to hold back tears during his sermon.
In his remarks, Sheikh Mirwaiz shared the agony he experienced during his forced residency, stating, "This period of house arrest and disconnection from my people has been the most painful for me since the demise of my father."
He reassured that his morale and spirit remain high, while denouncing the constitutional alterations executed by the nationalist Hindu-led Indian government as "unacceptable."
Sheikh Mirwaiz also touched upon Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commentary regarding the Ukraine situation, advocating for the resolution of conflicts and disputes through dialogue instead of resorting to force or unilateral actions. He voiced a call for the liberation of "numerous political prisoners."
The 50-year-old Sheikh Mirwaiz received a heartfelt reception from thousands of individuals who anxiously awaited his appearance, both outside and within the mosque’s premises.
Back in August 2019, Indian authorities detained thousands of Muslims and enacted stringent restrictions on mosques within the India-controlled segment of the Kashmir region, a territory contested with Pakistan. This measure was aimed at quelling any opposition to the Indian government's move to revoke the region's autonomy, home to a Muslim majority, transitioning it to direct federal administration.
On August 5, 2019, India rescinded a constitutional provision granting the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the lone Muslim-majority state, the prerogative to formulate its own laws. The state was subsequently bifurcated into two territories under federal governance.