Mourners Were Following SOP’s, Why Were They Targeted?: Masroor

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Maulana Masroor Abbas Ansari

Says, Pro-Establishment Shia Leaders Responsible For Confusion in Community

SRINAGAR: Police action against peaceful mourners on and before Ashura this year is reprehensible and government claim that action was taken in view of pandemic is a blatant lie as participants were following all SOP’s,a senior Shia leader charged today.

Religious authorities (Mara’aje) have permitted Muslims to take out smaller processions during Muharram while strictly adhering to Covid-19 protocol as laid down by the medical experts, said Maulana Masroor Abbas Ansari, President Ittehadul Muslimeen while addressing a news conference here on Thursday.

We had already announced cancellation of main processions this Muharram in view of the Covid-19 but smaller processions were taken out in accordance with tradition while adhering to set SOP’s.

“And the irony is that when the people here and our youth, under the guidance of Mujtahids and medical experts, took out peaceful mourning processions taking care of the SOP’s, they were subjected to brute force. Hundreds of mourners were severely injured by tear gas, baton charges and pellet guns and some are still in critical condition”, Masroor said.

“The irony is that the administration is stating that processions were stopped to save people from the epidemic which is a blatant lie, fabrication and highly reprehensible”, Masroor alleged.

“Past events have shown that even before the start of Muharram, the state administration would convene a meeting of representatives of its respective institutions and all organizations affiliated with the Shia community, but this year the administration did not bother to convene a meeting and unilaterally decided that it was banning Muharram processions, although the Jammu and Kashmir Ittihadul Muslimeen had already made it clear that all large and central Muharram ceremonies and processions will be canceled this year, but the local level processions will be taken out as per schedule,” he said.

“In this regard, the Mujtahids of the Shia world had already issued an order that if the SOP’s are taken care of during the processions, then there is no justification for stopping the processions and gatherings. We also made it clear in the hastily convened meeting by the Divisional Commissioner, (Kashmir) on 6th Muharram that these local mourning processions would not be cancelled but SOP’s would be followed as per the advice of medical experts,” Masroor said.

“The most unfortunate aspect of this situation is that some religious parties here have announced in their statements that mourning processions will not be held, and announcements to this end were made through social media and advertisements. On the one hand, these parties tried to misrepresent the feelings and love of Muslims towards Imam Hussain (AS) and on the other hand, they supported the policies of the government. Authorities used their statements as an excuse to stop the mourning processions and gatherings here by use of disproportionate force”.

“You know that for the last thirty years, the successive governments have unjustifiably banned historical eighth Muharram and Ashura processions in Kashmir and in this regard they have been bringing excuses of various types. Sometimes militancy, sometimes there is an excuse of law and order problem and sometimes there is an excuse that processions affect flow of traffic. But at the same time theese governments have been providing protection to Amarnath Yatra and other religious and political programs and there are no restrictions on them. We even saw non locals taking out Ganesh Chaturthi procession without even following SOP’s in Srinagar this week. Where is the justice that all kinds of activities are allowed in Kashmir but purely religious processions for mourning of Muharram are banned?, Masroor Abbas asked.

“We also want to make it clear that no power can stop mourning processions and whatever prohibitory measures may be taken regardless of the circumstances, these processions will continue to be held”, he said. He however appealed people to keep in view the orders of the Mujtahids and the authorities during the upcoming mourning ceremonies and follow the laid down SOPs.

“The use of force against mourners, dictatorial tactics such as pellet guns and baton charges are reprehensible and unacceptable and should be investigated and the mourners who have been detained or prosecuted without cause, should be released immediately”, he demanded.

Masroor urged the government to ensure better treatment for pellet victims and asked people to ensure all possible help and cooperation to those affected by the police action.

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