Govt Clamps Ban on Traditional Muharram Processions

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SRINAGAR: A day after authorities in Jammu and Kashmir denied media reports that there was any ban on Muharram processions in Srinagar, District Administration issued an order banning the main traditional procession of 8th Muharram in the city on Friday.

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An order issued by the District Magistrate Srinagar, a copy of which is with the Kashmir Observer, states: “In view of the certain security considerations, permission is not granted to Yadgar-e-Hussaini Committee, Guru Bazar Srinagar for taking out Muharram procession on 8th Muharram from Guru Bazar to Dalgate Srinagar”.

The 8th Muharram procession was the largest being taken out traditionally in Srinagar and has been banned since 1990 with the onset of militancy.

The procession used to be led by senior Shia leader Maulana Muhammad Abbas Ansari.

Ittehadul Muslimeen of Maulana Ansari has vowed to defy any ban order and lead the procession as it says the ban is unwarranted and discriminatory against Shia community in view of the govt patronage for annual Amarnath yatra which draws tens of thousands of Hindus from all across India.

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Meanwhile, keeping with the past practice, authorities imposed restrictions on the procession route which falls in the jurisdiction of eight police stations of district Srinagar on Friday. They include, Shaheedgunj, KaranNagar, Maisuma, Kothibagh, Shergadhi, Kralkhud, Batmaloo, Ram Munshi Bagh.

Successive governments in the Valley have not allowed the main Muharram processions of 8th and 10th (Ashura) since 1990s.

Interestingly the Government Wednesday issued a statement claiming that there is no ban on the Muharram processions in Kashmir as has been, according to it ‘misleadingly’ reported by a Srinagar-based English newspaper.

Reacting to the news report, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Khan said it has been already made clear at various levels that all the traditional Muharram processions would be allowed as per the past practice for which requisite arrangements have already been made by the administration.

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