Srinagar: Police on Wednesday lobbed tear smoke shells and fired warning shots in central Kashmir’s Budgam district to break-up a Muharram procession.
Hundreds of people on Wednesday afternoon took out a Muharram procession from Zurigund area of the district, witnesses told Kashmir Observer. Chanting “Labaik Ya Hussain”, the protesters were marching towards Imam Bargah located in the main town.
However, as the procession reached Hur near the main town, witnesses said the police deployed in the area in advance, intercepted it. However, the mourners, they said offered stiff resistance and tried to make their way ahead.
“The participants in the procession were following proper COVID protocols and SOPs but police used tear gas shells on us,” said a mourner who was part of the procession.
Muharram procession in Indian administered Kashmir was disrupted today by security forces who reportedly fired tear-gas shells on the mourners.
Locals allege that despite following COVID-19 SOPs during procession, they were stopped & shelled upon. pic.twitter.com/tXEsHDvSsj
— Uzair Hasan Rizvi (@RizviUzair) August 26, 2020
Angered by the police intervention, eyewitnesses said, some of the youth in the procession resorted to vociferous pro-freedom sloganeering.
“The cops fired dozens of tear smoke shells and fired shots in air to disperse the youth. The mourners regrouped and tried to march towards the Imam Bargah,” Altaf Ahmad, an eyewitness said.
He said the area was filled with smoke as the mourners repeatedly tried to reach their destination despite police using a considerable amount of force to stop them. Due to the clashes, he said many people sustained minor injuries.
Taking to Twitter, National Conference leader, Ruhullah Mehdi lashed out at the alleged rogue behavior of Kashmir police.
“The @JmuKmrPolice Budgam’s today’s behaviour in Budgam is completely unacceptable did not go unnoticed. I may have my own opinions about processions and SOPs related to it. But this rogue behaviour in shape on flexing mussels and firing on mourners is un expectable,” he Tweeted.
Despite repeated attempts, the district police officials did not attend phone calls from the Kashmir Observer.
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