Release Mirwaiz Omer Farooq


Release Mirwaiz Omer Farooq

Mirwaiz Omer Farooq can be asked to focus more on spreading the true message of Islam rather than indulging in the rhetoric of political separatism

Bashir Assad

 Now that the government has successfully facilitated the Moharram processions, it should immediately release MirwaizOmer Farooq from the continued detention. Senior political leader Sajad Lone rightly tweeted recently“@MirwaizKashmir has stuck to utterances which are moderate and represent the true essence of Islam. He has religious duties. His continued incarceration is a crime against him and against all those whom he inspires at a religious level. Sajad continued, “Humble appeal to @AmitShah sahib and @manojsinha_ sahib to please ensure that He is released as soon as possible. He has himself been a victim of violence. Let it be known. There r many wars in Kashmir. And in our real war he is an unapologetic moderate.”

I agree. Mirwaiz Kashmir himself has been a victim of violence. As a moderate religious icon, he too is fighting a war. His incarceration should end soon. Channels of communication should be opened with him, asking him not to indulge in any kind of activity which can vitiate the peaceful environment.

The state needs to allow the space to the moderates who represent the true essence of Islam. They are the Messengers of peace and harmony for the larger community. Mirwaiz Omer Farooq can be asked to focus more on spreading the true message of Islam rather than indulging in the rhetoric of political separatism.

The Mirwaiz should also bear in mind that his religious duties are far more encompassing. Particularly at a time when the extremist interpretations of Islam are mainstreamed, he is duty-bound as the religious leader to strengthen the true essence of Islam and not allow the extremist elements to highjack it.

I agree that this move is a double-edged sword for the UT Administration and also for Mirwaiz. Both need to walk the tightrope to end the stalemate.

According to highly-placed sources, the government is willing to end the incarceration of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, provided he conducts himself as befits his exalted position. There are reports that India and Pakistan are again engaged in Track2 diplomacy to break the ice of hostility.

The UT Administration must supplement these efforts by reaching out to the moderate voices of Kashmir. Bureaucrat-turned-politician-turned-bureaucrat Shah Faisal had said soon after his release from preventive custody in 2020 that there are only two options left. “You have to be either a separatist or a stooge”. The Administration needs to move beyond. The Administration needs to give the option to the people premised on rationality, reason and logic. The Kashmiris are an intelligent and shrewd race. In the new winds that are blowing, they shall not miss the opportunity.


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