Srinagar: Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Vijay Kumar Bidhuri on Tuesday said that government was serious on lifting decades old restrictions on two major Muharram processions in Srinagar. He however said that the “ball was in the Shia community court”, who have been asked to provide details about number of people participating in the procession.
Talking to the media persons in Srinagar Bidhuri said that series of meetings were held regarding lifting of restrictions on Muharram processions on two routes in Srinagar, which have been imposed decades back as “there might have been some issues behind it”.
“We are serious over lifting the restrictions and the ball at present is in the court of Shia community, who have been asked to provide details over how many people will be participating in the procession,” Bhiduri said.
“Those making hue and cry now have been part of successive governments and and were unable to bring it out for 34 years. How do you expect us now to ensure fool proof arrangements without knowing the size of the procession,” Bidhuri told reporters.
According to several Shia representatives who attended series of meetings including the one chaired by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Monday, authorities are willing to allow 8th Muharram procession but want only several hundred participants in it.
“First they said the number of mourners should be limited to 150 and then set the maximum limit at four thousand”, Showkat Ali Wani, who represented Anjuman-e-Sharie led by Agha Syed Hadi, told Kashmir Observer.
Another condition placed before the Shia representatives was that the procession should start at 7 AM and conclude by 11 AM. Both these conditions have put organisers in a quandary, sources said.
8th Muharram procession used to come out from Guru Bazar quarter of the city and culminate at Imambargah Dalgate in the evening before it was banned in 1989.
Lakhs of people would participate in the procession which would pass through major thoroughfares of the capital including Budshah Bridge and Maulana Azad Road.
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