Police on Sunday cane charged and fired tear smoke shells on Shia mourners for defying the restrictions on taking out Moharrum procession in the civil lines area in capital Srinagar, leaving over two dozen of them injured.
Police also took over 100 Shia activists into custody for violating the restrictions. Those arrested included Masroor Abbas, son of senior leader of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference, Molvi Abbas Ansari and senior JKLF leader Javaid Ahmad Mir.
Moharrum processions in civil lines area have been reeling under a ban from the government for the past 18 years. The processions however are taken out routinely in other parts of the city.
Police had a tough time to maintain the law and order in the area as Shia youth appeared in groups at various points in the civil lines and attempted to defy the restrictions. Around 300 Shia mourners gathered near Budshah Chowk and took out a procession. Senior Hurriyat leader Molvi Abbas Ansari’s son Masroor Abbas was leading them.
Reciting and rehearsing praises in favour of Imam Hussan, grand son of Prophet of Islam, who was killed, along with his family and relatives at Karbala 1,400 years ago, as the mourners proceeded towards Dal Gate.
Senior JKLF leader Javaid Mir and his supporters also joined the Shia procession. Some mourners raised slogans against America. Police however waylaid them at Moulana Azad Road and stopped them from moving forward and asked them to disperse. The Shia activists refused to follow the police diktat and attempted to go ahead.
The police resorted to baton charge to break the procession. They also fired dozens of tear smoke shells. Eyewitnesses said that over two dozen Shia activists were injured in police action.
Talking to Hindustan Times over phone from the police station, Javaid Mir condemned the police action and said that the use of force was “un-called for”. “It was simple religious procession and had nothing to do with politics. It has exposed the myth of secularism the government drums up time and again”, he said.
Shia mourners also took out processions near SP College and old KMD Bus Stand but were disallowed by police.