Muharram processions foiled curbs imposed

Muharram processions foiled curbs imposed across Srinagar

Severe restrictions were imposed in eight Police Stations of Srinagar on Sunday to prevent congregations of Shia mourners on the eighth of Muharram.

Police regretted the inconvenience caused to the public and said, “Unlike last year no case was registered as the overall situation remained completely peaceful.”

The administration had on Saturday decided not to allow Muharram processions in and around Srinagar. Restrictions were imposed in and around Lal Chowk with concertina wires and barricades at several stretches to prevent Shia congregations.

Shia mourners would traditionally organise processions on the 8th of Muharram in areas around Lal Chowk that used to culminate at Dalgate.

Muharram processions were first banned in 1989.

However, large Muharram processions were allowed later in all Shia-majority areas of Srinagar including Zadibal and Hassanabad besides Budgam.

The restrictions hit normal life and the Sunday Market in commercial hub Lal Chowk remained shut throughout the day.

To prevent the movement of mourners, restrictions were imposed in the jurisdictions of Police Stations of Ram Munshi Bagh, Kothibagh, Maisuma, Kralkud, Shaeed Gunj, Shergardi, Batamaloo, Khanyar, and Karan Nagar.

Officials said that groups of mourners tried to take out processions near Jehangir Chowk and were heading towards the city center – Lal Chowk but were stopped.

In the past, Shia mourners used to carry traditional Muharram processions from Guru Bazaar towards Buchwara and Abi Guzar towards Zadibal routes.

However, authorities decided not to allow these precessions keeping in view public security and law and order situation.

District Magistrate, Srinagar issued a formal order on Saturday citing various past incidents of violence.

“Whereas the undersigned held a detailed meeting involving all the Field Magistrates, Police officers and leaders of Shia community wherein they were briefed about the routes allowed and disallowed for Muharram procession. Law and order and security concern is the topmost priority of the J&K government keeping in view the larger public interest and safety of its citizens. Given these facts and circumstances read in conjunction with the reports of intelligence agencies thereof, more particularly the security concerns of the district Srinagar concerning Muharram, the processions cannot be allowed on the Guru Bazaar to Buchwara and Abi Guzar to Zadibal routes, keeping in mind the public interest, law and order, and security,” the order read.

“As witnessed from past instances and cases and upon analysis of reports and data from different security agencies about incidents which have occurred during the Muharram, it is evident that not only there has been a breach in peace and law and order, but also there have been sectarian clashes which have resulted in a breach of peace and threat to the maintenance of law and order and also resulted in damage to public property and injuries to civilians and security forces as well.”

The authorities also suspended mobile internet services in various parts of Srinagar including city centre Lal Chowk falling under the jurisdiction of Police Station Kothi Bagh.

However, emergency services were allowed to ply normally.

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