Govt Not To Allow Traditional Ashura Procession in Srinagar

On the ninth day of Muharram, mourners took out a procession in boats in the interiors of Dal Lake on Wednesday. KO Photo, Abid Bhat

Srinagar: The district administration is imposing restrictions in parts of this capital city on Thursday to prevent the Ashura procession from its traditional Abi Guzar-Zadibal route.

Official sources told Kashmir Observer on Wednesday that restrictions under section 144 Cr PC will be imposed in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of Police Stations Shaheed Gunj, Batmaloo, Shergari, Karan Nagar, Kothibagh, Maisuma, Kral Khud, and Ram Munshi Bagh to prevent the people from taking out the Ashura procession.

Similarly, curbs are also likely to be imposed in several areas of the Old City, especially Nowhatta and Mahrajgunj amid apprehensions of law and order situation, they said.

The two major processions of 8th and 10th Muharram were banned in 1989 by the then Governor administration fearing the processions may turn into pro-Azadi demonstrations. Ever since only small mourning processions are allowed in interiors of Srinagar city in Shia dominated areas.

Ashura that marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussain (AS) and his kin and faithful companions in the deserts of Karbala 1400 years ago is commemorated in Kashmir with religious fervour from centuries.

If sources are to be believed, the district administration and top police brass today held a series of meeting to chalk out strategy to deal with tomorrow’s situation.

The meeting, sources said, gain significance in the backdrop of stiff resistance demonstrated by the mourners while leading traditional 8th Muharram processions through many parts of the city on Tuesday.

At least six mourners were injured and dozens detained as government forces burst teargas canisters, fired pellets and warning shots to break up procession by several thousand youth in defiance of administration imposed curbs.

Pertinently, early this month, the divisional administration announced the Muharram processions will be allowed through traditional routes this year. Days later, the administration modified the directions stating that appropriate decisions for suitable action will be taken by the District Magistrates’ in consultation with police, health and other stakeholders.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

A media graduate from LPU, Zaid Bin Shabir is a Srinagar based journalist whose works have appeared in many local and international publications.

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