Srinagar, Aug 17 (KINS ) Security forces burst teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse Shia mourners who defied restrictions and tried to took out processions at several places on the eighth day of Islamic month of Muharram in Srinagar, where a number of roads were closed with barbed wire since early this morning.
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, Muharram processions are being taken out in areas where Shia Sect of Muslims are residing, including central Kashmir district of Badgam. Thousands of mourners are participating in these processions for the past about a week.
On the eighth day of Muharram, Shia mourners were taken out 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 was being taken out from Abi Guzar to Imambara in the down town through old city.
However, each year despite ban on the procession, shia mourners, mostly youths, were making attempt to took 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.
Dozens of 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.
Security 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.