Youth Group Threatens Self-Immolation On Ashura Ban

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SRINAGAR – Warning the government against imposing restrictions on the Ashura procession on Sunday, a newly-popping youth group has threatened self-immolation in central Srinagar tomorrow if authorities went ahead with the ban.

“We will hold a march over fire in Lal Chowk, and burn ourselves instead of coal and firewood if the government enforces its ban on the Ashura procession,” the head of a group styling itself as the Shia Youth Revolutionary Forum, Agha Syed Mujahid Hussain, said in a statement.

“We demand that the agreement between the late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and leading Shia ulama (with regard to taking out a united Ashura procession from central Srinagar) be upheld,” he said, warning “traditional” Shia leaders to see reason and not exploit the Shias of Kashmir.

Mujahid said that the ban on the Ashura procession as anti-human and undemocratic, and asserted that interference in religious affairs would not be allowed.

AGHA HASSAN SPEAKS

Meanwhile, the president of the Anjuman-e-Shara’ie Shiayan, Agha Syed Hassan, who has charge of this year’s Ashura in Srinagar, said that the long-standing government ban on the procession was “torment for the soul.”  

“Even with the improved situation, the government is not willing to lift the ban, so we have no option but to take out the procession in spite of restrictions,” he said.

Agha Hassan listed a number of Muharram processions taken out across the Kashmir valley in the past few days, including in volatile old Srinagar areas.

Addressing a religious gathering in Budgam, the Agha urged people to make it a point to join the traditional Ashura procession in central Srinagar and express their commitment to the ideals of Imam Hussain (AS).

“The great sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain unmasks the real face of tyrants and oppressors in every age, and gives the victims the strength to fight for their rights,” he said. “That is why tyrannical forces are terrified of gatherings and processions held in memory of the Holy Imam (AS),” he said. Observer News Service

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