Curbs imposed in parts of Kashmir to prevent Muharram processions

Lal Chowk (City center/File)

Abid Bashir

Srinagar (NVI): The J&K administration today imposed restrictions parts of Kashmir, especially Srinagar where the city centre (Lal Chowk) was sealed early this morning to prevent people from taking out Muharram processions to mark the eighth day of the 10-day mourning period.

Officials said that strict restrictions on the movement of people and vehicular traffic were imposed in almost a dozen areas of Srinagar including Lal Chowk, the commercial hub of Srinagar. “Deployment of police and paramilitary CRPF men was made in these areas in large numbers while roads were sealed with the reams of concertina wires,” they said.

As per the tradition, on the 8th day of Muharram, Shia mourners would take out a massive procession that would pass through traditional routes and reach Lal Chowk before culminating at Imam Bara Zadibal, in Srinagar.

It is pertinent to mention that before 1990, on the 8th day of Muharram, the procession would commence from Shaheed Gunj area, pass through MA Road and later culminate at Imam Bara Dalgate. In the past 30 years, authorities have not allowed the processions, citing security and law and order issues.

However, mourners have been defying the restrictions and trying to reach Lal Chowk through lanes and bylanes, all these years.

Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Pandurang K Pole yesterday said that restrictions shall continue on all religious processions and gatherings in all districts in the wake of Covid-19.

He urged the heads of these Shia bodies to use their influence and make people aware of the importance of following Covid-19 related SOPs including social distancing protocols and use of face masks while commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain.

Sources in the administration said that restrictions will remain in force till the 10th day of Muharram and all major religious processions should be restricted in a particular area. They said that a limited number of people can participate in mourning processions while following Covid-19 protocols.

Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. On 10th Muharram, Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was martyred in the battle of Karbala in Iraq, some 1400 years ago. Shia community observers first 10 days of Muharram as mourning and would take processions while beating chests and reciting hymns to praise Imam Hussain to pay him tributes. Imam Hussain was martyred on 10th Muharram along with his family members in Karbala, Iraq. The 10th Muharram is known as “Youm-e-Ashura” among the Muslim community across the globe.