Police burst teargas shells to foil Muharram procession, mourners detained in Srinagar

Tuesday, 17 August 2021 (21:59 IST)
Srinagar: Security forces burst teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse Shia mourners who defied restrictions and attempted to take out processions on the eighth day of Islamic month of Muharram in Srinagar.

Dozens of mourners, shouting religious slogans, were also taken into custody after they refused to disperse in the city.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir Range, K Vijay Kumar in a tweet said “We #respect the religious #sentiments and practices of all but at the same time it is also our joint #responsibility to defeat the ill designs of vested interest who try to disturb #peaceful atmosphere”.

Muharram processions in Srinagar, particularly in the civil lines, are banned since 90s for security reasons.

However, the processions are being taken out in areas where Shia Sect of Muslims reside, including central Kashmir district of Badgam. Thousands of mourners have been participating in these processions for the past about a week.

On the eighth day of Muharram, Shia mourners take procession from Guru Bazar to Imambara Dalgate through civil lines, including Lal Chowk and Moulana Azad road. Later on the tenth day of Muharram month a Tazia procession is taken out from Abi Guzar to Imambara in the downtown through the old city.

However, each year despite ban on the processions, Shia mourners, mostly youths, make attempts to take out the processions only to get detained by police.

Dozens of mourners in several groups, mostly wearing black cloths, appeared at Batmaloo, Jehangir Chowk and Dalgate and other places in the city raising religious slogans, including “Labaik ya Hussain". However, police personnel deployed in strength since this morning immediately swung into action and resorted to lathicharge.

Several mourners were later bundled into waiting police vehicles and taken to concern police station. Similar scenes were also witnessed at other places in the city. A number of media persons, mostly photo journalists and videographers were also hit by security personnel.

Security forces burst teargas shells and resorted to repeated lathicharge to disperse mourners who were trying to enter the Imambara at Dalgate. Mourners raising slogans, particularly Libaik Ya Hussain, made several attempts to break the security barricade to move towards the Imambara. All roads leading to Imambara at Dalgate have also been closed. Nobody was being allowed to enter the area.

Forces had also closed several roads, including at Barbarshah, Gaw Kadal, Exchange road leading to UNI office, Fateh Kadal, Bobdamb.

Situation elsewhere in the city, including historic Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the city, Budshah Chowk and other business hubs was normal and traffic was also plying normally.

The administration had announced to allow Muharram processions in the civil lines and other parts of Srinagar this time. However, the Shia organizations and leaders questioned the timing of allowing Muharram procession at time when no congregational prayers are being allowed in historic Jamia Masjid, Assar-e-Sharief Hazratbal, which houses the Holy Relic of Prophet Muhammad and other worship places in the valley.

Later, Union Administration issued a fresh order said that maximum number of people permitted to attend any indoor or outdoor gathering shall be restricted to 25 persons only. (UNI)

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