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Amid restrictions mourners observe ‘Ashura’

Yasir Ashraf
Agence India Press

Srinagar: The state government on Tuesday imposed strict restriction in parts of the capital, Srinagar, to maintain ‘law and order’ as many mourners’ processions are scheduled to be taken out by Shiite Muslims today to commemorate the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammad’s (SAW) grandson, Imam Hussain and his family.

Security has been beefed up in the city in the wake of the Shia community planning to stage a Muharram Procession here, official sources told Agence India Press.

The Muharram procession of the 10th day of the first month of the Islamic calendar would traditionally start from Guru Bazar and Shaheed Gunj areas of the Srinagar downtown and pass through Maulana Azad and Residency Roads, Dalgate to end at Alamgari Bazar, Zadibal. However, for the past couple of decades, authorities have disallowed huge Muharram processions in uptown areas while smaller congregations in Shiite localities of downtown Srinagar and in the outskirts are allowed.

However, since 1990, Muharram processions have been banned here. Officials fear separatists can hijack the event and create law and order problems.

No movement was being allowed in the city centre and its adjoining areas as entry points to the Lal Chowk were sealed from all sides. Police and paramilitaries had erected barricades and coils of concertina wire at some intersections to block pedestrian and vehicular movement. In a bid to thwart the procession today, since early Tuesday morning, authorities had moved heavy police and paramilitary reinforcements in the areas falling under five police stations of Shaheed Gunj, Maisuma, Kothibagh, Rammunshi Bagh, and Kralkhud to enforce strict restrictions. Similar restrictions were also placed in some downtown areas as well.

Shops, vehicular traffic, businesses and pedestrian movement remained suspended in city centre Lal Chowk, adjacent Maisuma locality and Residency Road areas today.

Shops and other business establishments were also closed in old city areas and vehicular movement was almost off the roads.

Concertina wires and huge number of security personnel were being deployed at all entry points leading to Lal Chowk as Shiite mourners planned to stage the procession from Abi Guzar area, officials told Agence India Press.

Police and CRPF personnel were also deployed along the banks of river Jhelum to prevent people from reaching Lal Chowk using boats, official sources said.

A senior police officer said restrictions have been imposed in few areas falling under police stations of Maisuma, Kothibagh, Kralkhud, Rammunshi Bagh, and Shaheed Gunj in order to prevent some anti-social elements from creating trouble in the city. He also said that the restrictions had to be imposed in the areas as a precautionary measure “to maintain law and order”.

Muslims, especially Shiite Muslims throughout the world take out mourning processions and hold majlis (gatherings) during the first ten days of the Muslim month of Muharram, which is known as ‘Ashura’. The mourning reaches a climax with major processions on the 10th day.

Meanwhile, both the factions of Hurriyat Conference, political and social parties have condemned the severe restrictions on the mourners and termed them the intervention in the religious activities and unfortunate on part of the government. (AIP News)

Copyright © 2011 AIPTV. All rights reserved. http://agenceindiapress.com

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