Govt Warns Against Azadi Slogans During Muharram Processions

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A Muharram Procession In Srinagar – File Pic

Restrictions On All Religious Processions in Kashmir To Continue: Div Com

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Thursday warned strict action against people who raise pro-freedom and anti-India slogans during Muharram processions in Kashmir.

Chairing a meeting here to take stock of Muharram arrangements, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K Pole also said that restrictions shall continue on all religious processions and gatherings in all districts, an official spokesperson said.

“The Div Com said that in the last few instances some anti-national elements tried to give different directions to a purely religious matter, which has been viewed seriously and all such elements shall be dealt strictly under the law,” he said.

Pertinently, the Divisional Commissioner’s warning comes a day after police arrested two youth for their alleged involvement in chanting pro-freedom slogans during a Muharram procession in Hokersar area of the city outskirts.

On Wednesday also, Muharram processions turned into pro-freedom rallies, after police used tear smoke shells and fired in the air to disperse them in Budgam and Srinagar. Officials had claimed that the force was used as the people had violated SOPs and taken out the Muharram processions.

According to an official spokesperson, the meeting was attended by Deputy Commissioners Srinagar and Budgam, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Shahbaz Mirza, SSP Srinagar, Haseeb Mughal, Joint Commissioner SMC.
Some Shia community leaders, including Secretary Abid Hussain Ansari of Shia Association,  Aga Syed Muntazir, of Anjumane Sharie Shiayan and representatives from other parties.

During the meeting, the official spokesperson said Shia organisations extended their full support to the administration with assurance that no procession or any other outside gathering shall be conducted during these days.

He said that the Div Com sought support from these religious bodies and urged them to sensitize people about avoiding all religious processions/ gatherings in wake of Covid-19.

“He urged the heads of these bodies to use their influence and aware people about the importance of following Covid-19 related SOPs including social distancing protocol and use of face masks while commemorating martyrdom of Imam Hussain A.S and other martyrs of Karbala,” the official spokesperson said.

“He appealed to people to show their cooperation at this juncture as Covid-19 cases were on rise in Kashmir and any carelessness can prove disastrous for the entire society,” he added.

The official spokesperson further said that during the meeting, the representatives raised various issues with the Div Com and demanded prompt resolution.

“The Div Com instructed all DCs and SSPs to cooperate and extend their support to people for hassle-free holding of majalis,” he said, adding “He also directed to developmental departments to carry out necessary works and ensure uninterrupted power and potable water supply besides speedy completion of lane and drain works in all Shia dominated areas.

Police Foils 7th Muharram Procession

Meanwhile Government forces on Thursday used force to foil the attempt of people to take out the traditional 7th Muharram procession in Rainawari area of the city.

Hundreds of people assembled at Shia dominated Hassanabad locality on Thursday afternoon and tried to march towards Botraj Mohalla, to Kathi Darwaza, the route of traditional Muharram procession on the seventh day of the Islamic month of Muharram, witnesses told Kashmir Observer.

When the mourners reached near Dharamshala crossing, eyewitnesses said that the cops, who were deployed in strength, resorted to tear smoke shelling.

“This led to complete chaos. After lobbing tear smoke shells, the cops chased the mourners and pushed them back to Hassanabad Chowk,” Shabir Hussain, an eyewitness said.

He said that the police action was unwarranted and uncalled for, as the mourners were moving peacefully towards the Kathi Darwaza.

“The mourners were only raising pro-Islam and other religious slogans. They all were wearing masks and keeping social distance as well. There was no provocation by mourners at all,” Hussain said.

7th Muharram is the last major procession in the city as two major processions of 8th and 10th Muharram have not been taken out since a ban was imposed on them by successive governments 23 years back.

On Wednesday also, Muharram processions turned into pro-freedom rallies, after police used tear smoke shells and fired in the air to disperse them in Budgam and Srinagar. Officials had claimed that the force was used as the people had violated SOPs and taken out the Muharram processions.

So far, police has arrested two youth for their alleged involvement in chanting pro-freedom slogans during a Muharram procession in Hokersar area of the city outskirts.

On Thursday, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K Pole said that restrictions shall continue on all religious processions and gatherings in all districts in wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

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