Govt Not To Allow 8th Muharram Procession in Srinagar

Procession was taken out from Kathidarwaza to Hassanabad in Srinagar on 7th Muharram

Srinagar: Restrictions will be imposed in parts of the uptown on Tuesday to prevent traditional 8th Muharram procession that remains banned since the onset of militancy in the erstwhile state in early 90’s.

"The district administration has decided to impose curfew-like restrictions for tomorrow's Muharram procession that was scheduled from Guru Bazaar to Dalgate." SHO Shaheed Gunj, Sabzar Ahmed Ganai told Kashmir Observer on Monday.

"No Muharram procession will be allowed tomorrow in the area. The district administration has strictly ordered us to impose restrictions,” he added.

Meanwhile, other police stations along the route from Guru Bazaar to Dalgate haven’t received any instructions for imposing restrictions on Muharram procession in their areas.

“For now, we haven’t received any communiqué from our higher ups for imposing restrictions in areas falling under my jurisdiction.”  SHO Nehru Park, Ghulam Mustafa told Kashmir Observer.

Another official from Kothi Bagh police station, who wished anonymity, told Kashmir Observer that there may be restrictions on 8th Muharram procession but we haven’t received any official order to impose restrictions in our area.”

Shia leader Maulana Masroor Abbas Ansari addressing mourners at Kathidarwaza

Pertinently, on August 2, the administration modified the directions issued last month regarding the Muharram processions / gatherings stating that appropriate decisions for suitable action will be taken by the District Magistrates’ in consultation with police, health and other stakeholders.

While talking to Kashmir Observer, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, P K Pole said, “If the district administration orders restrictions on any Muharram procession tomorrow, that’s completely based on what the Police and health officials would have suggested in order to curb the spread of Covid,”

“People will have to follow whatever decision the local administration makes, in order to maintain Law, order and SOP’s,” he added.

On Monday last, officers from police station Shaheed Gunj had visited Guru Bazar area and informed the residents that the traditional 8th Muharram procession from Guru Bazar to Dalgate will not be allowed.

The two major processions of 8th and 10th Muharram were banned in 1989 by the then Governor Jagmohan after militancy broke out in the Valley. Only small mourning rallies and processions are allowed in a few areas with sizeable Shia population.

In Valley, the Shia Muslims used to take out processions from several parts of uptown Srinagar on 8th and 10th Muharram that culminated at Dalgate and the historic Zadibal Imam Bara. However, after the onset of militancy, the religious processions were banned by the government.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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