India releases Kashmir separatist leader from four-year house arrest

By Fayaz Bukhari and Rupam Jain

SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A distinguished Kashmir separatist chief led Friday prayers on the area’s grand mosque after he was launched by Indian authorities from 4 years below home arrest.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chairman of the reasonable faction of Kashmir’s most important separatist political alliance, was considered one of a number of activists and politicians detained after New Delhi revoked the particular standing of its solely Muslim-majority area in 2019.

“All my rights and liberties had been curtailed…. we’re not so-called separatists or peace disrupters however realist resolution-seekers,” Farooq informed hundreds who had gathered on the Jamia Masjid mosque in Srinagar, the place he’s additionally head priest.

A senior Indian authorities official stated Farooq, 50, and two different preachers had been launched following a excessive courtroom order. The official stated the home arrest had been a vital step to take care of peace in Kashmir.

The Muslim-majority Himalayan area has been on the coronary heart of greater than 70 years of animosity for the reason that partition of British-ruled India into Muslim Pakistan and majority Hindu India in 1947. Two of the three wars they’ve fought since have been over Kashmir, which is split between them, and hundreds have been killed throughout a 30-year insurgency within the Indian-ruled half.

Farooq’s household and aides are a part of greater than three many years of separatist exercise by some Muslim politicians who’ve lengthy resented what they see as heavy-handed New Delhi rule. Some wish to be a part of Pakistan, whereas others have known as for full independence for Kashmir.

“One a part of Kashmir is with India and different two elements are with Pakistan and China and we imagine that it is going to be full after all of the three elements are merged,” Farooq stated, including he wished a peaceable decision.

Farooq grew to become head priest of Jamia Masjid when he was 17 years previous, after his father was killed by gunmen in 1990, quickly after the insurgency within the area started.

(Modifying by Alex Richardson)

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