RSS procession enjoys police protection, Muharram mourners face police batons 

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SRINAGAR: Exactly a week after offering police protection to a “communally provocative” march carried out by the righ­twing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the Chenab Val­ley, the Peoples Democratic Par­ty led coalition on Monday used “brute force” on Muharram mourners here, mocking at the government claims of upholding secularism in the restive region. 

On October 2, the Jammu and Kashmir Police provided full-escort to a march carried out by the RSS, whose bhakts, allegedly voiced provocative slogans in the Doda region, something which has already snowballed into a controversy and war of words between the government and the opposi­tion. But it was the police force ensuring that the bhakts who took out the traditional – “Path- Sanchalan” in Doda, were safe and secure to carry out their procession hassle-free. 

On the contrary, the gov­ernment yet again deprived mourners from carrying out the traditional 8th Muharram procession here in the civil lines as scores of them were beaten ruthlessly and detained by the government forces. The authorities had also declared restrictions across the sum­mer capital strictly enforcing ban on key traditional Muharram processions. 

The mourners would tradi­tionally take out the procession from Guru Bazar locality of the civil lines. After a mile long march through Budshah Chowk and MA Road, it would culminate at Dalgate. But since late 1980s, successive regimes denied the mourners their right to carry out the proces­sion to remember the illustri­ous Martyrs of Karbala. 

Though over the years the mysterious ban continues to be in place, whereby the aspir­ing processionists are ruth­lessly beaten and whisked away by police, this apparent discrimination has only wors­ened since 2015. 

Last year, whereas Muharram procession was strictly banned, exactly on the same traditional route, the same evening, government top-brass celebrated the Dussehra with pomp and show. 

 

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While the MA Road was sealed to prevent Muharram procession, adjoining TRC Ground hosted the function to celebrate the burning of effigies of demon Ravan and his two counterparts: KumbhKaran and Meghnath. 

Apart from others, Educa­tion Minister and government spokesman Naeem Akhter, his two cabinet colleagues, Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu and the then works minister Syed Altaf Bukhari ensured their presence at the firework celebrations. 

The discrimination had drawn widespread criticism with people saying that govern­ment was resorting to commu­nal politics. 

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This year the politics seems to have only worsened. Reports reveal that “Path-Sanchalan” (full dress route march) was taken out from the Ram Leela Ground Tondwa by RSS activ­ists and after passing through main Bazaar, Bus stand, DC Office, Dak Bunglow the march concluded at Tondwa. 

Speaking on the occasion, Ut­tar Khetar Parchar Parmukh Narinder said the founder chief of RSS Dr Hedgevar laid the foundation of Sangh on the Dussehra at Nagpur in 1925 to unite Hindus all over globe. 

The Muslim community in the region, on the other hand has complained, that the march aimed at scaring them and that the RSS bhakts issued provoca­tive statements. 

In Kashmir, on the other hand, over the years the gov­ernment traditionally disal­lows Muharram procession pleading that it could lead to law and order problem. 

“Muharram procession comes with a threat so to avoid any eventuality we ban it,” said an official. He, however, refused to comment why RSS march was allowed in sensitive Chenab valley.

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