Srinagar- Political parties in Kashmir on Saturday demanded the revocation of the ban on Muharram processions, saying it’s not justified as the government claims normalcy has returned to the valley and all other religious processions are allowed.
Muharram processions have not been allowed in the valley since the eruption of militancy in the 1990s.
National Conference chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq questioned the ban on Muharram processions in Kashmir when other religious processions are allowed.
“Muharram processions should be allowed. The LG and home minister of the country are saying that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved. So, I don’t see any reason why processions on 8th and 9th (mourning days of) Muharram through the traditional routes should be stopped,” Sadiq told PTI.
He asked if the Amarnath Yatra and Janmashtami processions can be allowed and facilitated, then why not Muharram processions.
“If you are allowing the Amarnath Yatra and Janmashtami processions through the interiors of the Srinagar city and Mela Kheer Bhawani, then why not Muharram processions?
“If an event like G20 can take place in Srinagar city and the government says from every platform that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved since 2019, why stop Muharram processions,” he asked.
People’s Conference secretary general Imran Reza Ansari said allowing Muharram processions can prove to be a confidence-building measure.
“The government is saying that the situation (in Kashmir) looks visibly peaceful and it has been incident-free for the last five-six years. I think this is the right time and it will be a confidence-building measure,” he said.
“We should start the procession from Guru Bazar to Dal Gate and the 10th Muharram procession should be from Abi Guzar to Zadibal,” he said.
Ansari said the Muslim community did not demand lifting of the ban when the situation in the Valley was not favourable but now that things have improved, “all Shia organisations have been repeatedly and jointly asking the government of Jammu and Kashmir to allow the processions”.
“Muharram is not a festival, it is a month of mourning for all Muslims. So, there is no politics or any other kind of activity involved in the processions. It is just purely about spirituality and faith. So, I think the government should take a call,” he added.
The traditional procession, to mark the eighth and tenth days of the 10-day Muharram mourning period, used to pass through Abi Guzar and the interior areas of the city. However, it was banned after the eruption of militancy in the valley in the 1990s with authorities maintaining that religious gatherings were used for propagating separatist sentiments.
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