Srinagar: 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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