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OCCUPIED SRINAGAR: Hundreds of stone-throwing protesters clashed with police in Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) Friday after authorities reversed a decision to release the region's chief Islamic cleric from house arrest, police and witnesses said.

Authorities have confined Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to his home since August 2019, when New Delhi imposed direct rule on the restive Muslim-majority region and enforced a heavy security lockdown.

On Thursday the cleric was informed that he was free to leave his home and address Friday prayers at the main mosque in occupied Srinagar, but hours later the decision was reversed, the imam's political party said.

"Late last night police officials visited the Mirwaiz's residence to convey to him that he continues to be under house arrest," the party said in a statement.

Angry at the decision, hundreds of the cleric's followers and worshippers poured out of the mosque after Friday prayers, throwing stones at police and shouting slogans such as "We want freedom" and "release the Mirwaiz," an AFP photographer on the scene said.

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