Govt Scuttles Muharram Procession With Tough Curbs

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Forces personnel enforce curbs in Srinagar-KO Photo: Abid Bhat

Srinagar: Authorities on Friday imposed strict restrictions in parts of Kashmir to prevent people from taking out Muharram processions to mark the eighth day of the 10-day mourning period, officials said.

They said restrictions on the movement and assembly of people under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) have been imposed in Budgam and Baramulla districts and parts of Srinagar district.

In Srinagar, curbs were imposed in areas falling under eight police stations—Batamaloo, Shaheed Gunj, Karanagar, Maisuma, Kothibagh, Shergrahi, Kralkhud and Ram Munshibagh, the officials said.

Shops and other business establishments in the areas, where restrictions are in place, are shut, while public transport is off the roads, they said. However, some private vehicles were seen plying.

The officials said security forces have been deployed in strength in other areas of the Valley to prevent any untoward incident.

The restrictions were imposed to maintain law and order in these areas in view of the eighth day of Muharram, they said.

Prior to 1990, on the 8th day of Muharram, Ashura procession would commence from Shaheed Gunj area, pass through MA Road and later culminate at Imambargah Dalgate. However, during the past 30 years, authorities have not allowed the processions, citing security reasons. For last several years, mourners have been defying the restrictions and tried to carry out the procession. However, police would bundle them into vehicles and release them later.

On Thursday last, 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.

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 during these days

Dozens Detained As Police Foils Muharram Processions

KO Photo: Abid Bhat

Police on Friday detained over two dozen youth, who defied government imposed curbs and tried to take out traditional procession on the eighth day of Islamic month of Muharram in the uptown here.

Despite strict curbs and heavy deployment of CRPF personnel and cops across the city, dozens of mourners appeared near the headquarters of the Fire Service department at Batamaloo here and tried to take out traditional Muharram procession to Dalgate, eyewitnesses told Kashmir Observer. Chanting “Labaik Ya Hussain” “Islam Zindabad,” the mourners were intercepted by a posse of policemen.

“The police rounded up several mourners when they offered resistance and tried to march towards Dalgate. The mourners were bundled in police vans and whisked away,” Farooq Ahmad, an eyewitness said.

After Batamaloo, eyewitnesses said, a group of youth also appeared near Pratap Park in the city centre and tried to take out the procession. However, the cops immediately swung into action and detained the mourners.

The cops, witnesses said also used pepper gas sprays while detaining the mourners.

A group of mourners were also detained while trying to take out a procession near Kashmir Gold Club along the Maulana Azad Road here.

Meanwhile, Itihad-ul-Muslimeen condemned what it called “brutal” police action on the peaceful mourners here.

In a statement issued to media, an IuM spokesperson said that police and CRPF used force to break-up peaceful Muharram procession in which mourners were following proper SOPs. In the alleged police action, the IuM spokesperson said that dozens of youth were injured and scores detained.

“Even a mini bus carrying women mourners was seized by police. Over 30 women were taken to police station Kothi Bagh and detained there,” the spokesperson said.

He said that IuM,President, Maulana Masroor Abbas was put under house arrest ahead of the procession.

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