Jammu and Kashmir

Restrictions on Muharram processions imposed in Srinagar’s commercial hub, many Shia mourners detained

Published : August 17, 2021 15:02 IST

Jammu and Kashmir police detaining Kashmiri Shia devotees for defying restrictions imposed on Muharram processions, in Srinagar on August 17. Photo: NISSAR AHMAD

Restrictions were imposed in and around Lal Chowk, with concertina wires and barricades at several stretches to prevent Shia congregations. The Shia community has traditionally organised processions on 8th of Muharram in the areas around Lal Chowk, culminating at Dalgate.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration today did not allow Muharram processions in and around Srinagar’s commercial hub and detained many Shia mourners. Restrictions were imposed in and around Lal Chowk, with concertina wires and barricades at several stretches to prevent Shia congregations. The Shia community has traditionally organised processions on 8th of Muharram in the areas around Lal Chowk, culminating at Dalgate.

According to eye witnesses, some reporters covering the procession were roughed up while several mourners were detained as they tried to enter Lal Chowk crossing over the barricades. Many mourners were carrying placards with Islamic and “Free Kashmir” slogans. However, the police have not officially confirmed the number of detentions.

Muharram processions were first banned in 1989 after the onset of militancy, when such religious processions turned into anti-India protests. However, large Muharram processions were allowed later in all Shia majority areas of Srinagar’s Zadibal and Hasnabadh areas and Budgam.

Last year, there were clashes between Shia Muharrram mourners and the security forces at several places. This year, a government order said that Muharram could be celebrated “as per the past practice”. It further stated: “However, in view of COVID, the guidelines shall be adhered in letter and in spirit.”

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