J&K govt. disallows Muharram procession in Srinagar, many detained

Officials said restrictions were put in place in and around Lal Chowk since Tuesday morning.

Several Shia mourners were detained in capital Srinagar on Tuesday, as the Jammu and Kashmir administration decided to disallow processions on the occasion of Muharram at commercial hub Lal Chowk.

Officials said restrictions were put in place in and around Lal Chowk since Tuesday morning. Concertina wires and barricades were also erected on several stretches to stop Shias, who traditionally organise processions on 8th of Muharram in areas around Lal Chowk and would culminate at Dalgate.

Locals said several mourners were also detained when they tried to cross the barricades and converge onto the streets of Lal Chowk. Many mourners were carrying placards with Islamic and ‘free Kashmir’ slogans written on it. However, the police have not officially confirmed the number of detentions.

Earlier, a government order suggested that “the Muharram processions shall be celebrated as per the past practice”. “However, in view of the COVID, the guidelines shall be adhered in letter and in spirit,” it added.

The practice of taking out Muharram processions at the city centre was banned in 1989 after militancy broke out and such religious processions turned into anti-India protests. However, large processions would be allowed in all Shia majority areas of Srinagar’s Zadibal and Hasnabadh areas and Budgam. Last year, clashes broke out between Shia Muharrram mourners and security forces in many areas.

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