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.
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.
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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