Saturday, May 2, 2009

Interference in religion

‘Hoist Black Flag On Masjids, Houses, Vehicles From Monday’

By Arif Shafi Wani

Srinagar, May 1: Anguished at the restrictions on Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid here, the chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has urged people to hoist black flags on Masjids, houses and vehicles from May 4 to protest against the ‘religious interference.’

Accusing the government of hypocrisy, Mirwaiz said entire administration is kept on tenterhooks to ensure smooth conduct of Amarnath yatra but it is not so earnest towards religious worship of others.

“When it comes to Muslims, particularly of Kashmir, the government adopts a different yardstick. The successive regimes have snatched all the rights of Kashmiris to suppress the ongoing freedom movement,” he said.

Mirwaiz will chair a meeting of Hurriyat to chalk out a strategy against the repeated attempts to prevent Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid and other places. “In the disguise of maintaining so-called law and order, police prevented people from offering Friday prayers and snatched their religious rights,” Mirwaiz said.

“I fervently appeal to people to hoist black flags on Masjids, houses and public and private vehicles from Monday to register protest against the religious interference. Even during the assembly elections, authorities prevented prayers in Jamia Masjid for eight consecutive Fridays. We can’t tolerate interference in our religious affairs and are ready to sacrifice our lives for protecting our rights,” said Mirwaiz, who continues to be under house arrest. 

Mirwaiz said it was during the Sikh rule that prayers were restricted in Jamia Masjid. “Acting on New Delhi’s directions, the autocratic rulers had surpassed even the Sikh rule by repeatedly snatching our religious rights. It has exposed the real face of India’s democracy. We appeal the Organization of Islamic Conference and the international community to take cognizance of the grave issue and enforce sanctions against India for the unpardonable crime,” he said.

Mirwaiz said the boycott of parliamentary election in south Kashmir had frustrated the government. “It can’t force the people to vote under the shadow of gun. By remaining away from polls, people have given their referendum that elections can’t be a substitute to their right of self-determination. The sooner New Delhi understands it better it would be for it,” he said.

Earlier this year, the Muslim scholars had threatened to launch a Valley-wide agitation if the government and its security agencies didn’t stop interfering in the religious affairs. Mirwaiz strongly condemned the house arrest of pro-freedom leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Muhammad Yaseen Malik and Nayeem Ahmad Khan. He appealed the people to make the strike calls against the elections on May 7 and 13 successful.

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