In A First, Mirwaiz Stopped From Leading Eidgah Prayers17 November 2010
The Indian Express
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday did not allow moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq to lead the prayers at Eidgah, the Valley’s biggest prayer ground - a first-of-its-kind move since the institution of Mirwaiz was created in the state. The Mirwaiz and his colleagues were placed under house arrest to prevent them from taking out a protest march. The arrest of the Mirwaiz is significant because in their 250 years of history, successive Mirwaizs have led the prayers at Eidgah without a break. The current Mirwaiz, the 13th in this lineage, has followed this long tradition by delivering the customary sermon before the prayers. People from all over Srinagar and nearby villages travel to Eidgah to be part of the massive congregation and mainly to hear Mirwaiz speak. On Eid-ul-Fitr, the Mirwaiz had made a dramatic post-prayer decision to march to Lal Chowk where a mob went on the rampage and burnt a government building. “Not allowing me to lead the prayers is an extreme step by the government. This is a blatant intervention in our religious affairs,” the Mirwaiz, who had earlier asked CM Omar Abdullah to step down, told The Indian Express.