He was also one of the leaders detained after the abrogation of Article 370

After four years, Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was released from house arrest on Friday. He also lead the Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar.

"After FOUR years (212 Fridays) of illegal and arbitrary incarceration, @MirwaizKashmir will today offer congregational Friday prayers & deliver a sermon at Jama Masjid Srinagar," the Mirwaiz said in a tweet.

The Mirwaiz is the custodian of the historic Jamia Majid, Kashmir’s most revered mosque for centuries. He was also one of the scores of political and separatist leaders detained after the abrogation of Article 370.

While all of them were released, curbs continued on the Mirwaiz’s movement. The government maintained there were no restrictions on his movement but the Hurriyat leader was never seen in public or could deliver Friday sermons at Jamia Masjid since the reading down of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, including during Ramzan and Eid prayers. There was also a heavy security presence outside his residence.

The Mirwaiz’s return to Jamia Masjid comes in the wake of The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court issuing a notice to the J&K government on September 15 in response to a petition filed by Mirwaiz regarding "his house arrest" since August 2019. His counsel, Nazir Ahmed Ronga, confirmed that the court had granted four weeks for the administration to respond to Mirwaiz's petition.

The Mirwaiz has requested an order or directive from the court to address what he perceives as his unjust "detention." The Mirwaiz claims he has been confined to his residence in Nigeen, Srinagar, without any legal basis.

He has appealed to the High Court, urging the administration to lift the siege on his house and allow him to deliver Friday sermons at Jamia Masjid. The petition emphasises the need to remove obstacles hindering Mirwaiz's movement and daily life, as guaranteed under the Constitution.

In a recent interview, the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor had stated that Mirwaiz would soon be allowed to move freely.

Ronga had told The Week that Mirwaiz has been under what they consider illegal house arrest since August 4 and they have turned to the court for relief. He said that "free movement and liberty" were guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The prolonged detention had affected Mirwaiz's health. He is not only an important religious figure but also the head of Anjuman Nusratul Islam, Kashmir's oldest educational institution.

Ronga noted that Mirwaiz has been unable to fulfil his role in the socio-religious organisation Awami Action Committee due to his continuous confinement. The counsel had expressed hope that the government would respond to their petition and they are optimistic that the court will grant Mirwaiz the relief he seeks.