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Kashmiri Muslim Leader Under House Arrest Ahead Of Talk

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Mirwaiz Umar Farooq held as he was due to speak during martyrdom week

The spiritual leader of Kashmir’s Muslim majority was placed under house arrest Wednesday as he was due to address a seminar.

Umar Farooq, who as the mirwaiz of Kashmir leads around 6 million Muslims, had been due to speak during a week of events to mark the deaths of people killed in the conflict between Kashmiri separatists and Indian security forces.

He told Anadolu Agency that it was the 42nd time he had been put under house arrest since fresh violence broke out last year.

“Every opportunity we have to talk to people, the Indian government scuttles it,” he said.

“This was not even a public rally but an indoor seminar. But the Indian government is so scared because they know that any occasion can turn into an anti-India event.”

Farooq, who is chairman of the Hurriyat forum, had been due to talk at a one-day seminar Resolution of Kashmir Issue -- Prelude to Peace, Guarantee to Stability.

Kashmir was divided in 1947 between Indian-controlled Jammu Kashmir and Pakistan-ruled Azad Kashmir. The two nuclear powers have fought two wars over the territory.

More than 70,000 people have been reportedly killed in Jammu Kashmir, where India maintains more than 500,000 troops, since 1989.

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