Will Govt Allow Traditional Muharram Processions in Srinagar This Year?

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Srinagar– A day after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and cadres held a strong rally in the heart of Srinagar city, a top administration official on Wednesday hinted at continued ban on traditional Muharram processions in the civil lines of Srinagar city.

“Definitely, the decisions have been taken at an appropriate level. Muharram processions will be allowed at the already permitted routes. All arrangements have been made in this regard. We have also requested the community leaders to lead processions on the permitted routes only,” Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, PK Pole told reporters at Imam Bargah Budgam on Wednesday.

He was replying to a question over the continued ban on traditional Muharram processions of in the Kashmir Valley.

The two major processions of 8th and 10th Muharram were banned in 1989 by the then Governor administration fearing the processions may turn into anti-India 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 across the globe including in Kashmir with religious fervour from centuries.

Meanwhile, an official spokesperson said that besides Budgam, Pole conducted extensive tour to Imambaras at Magam and Zadibal to take spot appraisal of arrangements put in place for forthcoming Muharram ul Haram.

The Div Com, he said, directed the concerned Officer for ensuring proper services and all the required arrangements for hassle-free conduct of religious activities during the forthcoming holy month of Muharram ul Haram.

“He also directed the concerned for filling of potholes and repairing roads in their respective areas so mourners can take out processions without facing any inconvenience,” he said, adding that the Div Com also stressed to chalk out traffic management plans to facilitate mourners and commuters during processions.

Regarding street lights, the spokesperson said that the Div Com directed the concerned to get the defunct street lights repaired forthwith and ensure functioning of flood lights on the high masts.

Pole, he said, also issued instructions for cleaning of drains to remove chokes to avoid water logging on the streets and roads.

“Further, he directed for ensuring availability of electricity and drinking water to the people besides essential items like ration, LPG, sugar etc particularly during auspicious days of Muharam,” the spokesperson said.

“Directions were also given for conducting sanitation drives and grass cutting at the Imambaras and vicinity besides, establishing health camps at the venues to provide immediate medical aid to the mourners,” he added.

The spokesperson further said that in order to develop a straight and wide road leading to Zadibal Imambara, Div Com asked ADC, Srinagar to prepare a rehabilitation plan of the families living along the street leading to Imambara.

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