No children were seen injuring themselves or being injured by others during the Muharram processions this year in Mumbai, the state government informed the Bombay high court on Tuesday.
Public prosecutor Sandip Shinde informed the division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice Revati Mohite-Dere that Muharram processions were videographed in the jurisdiction of five police stations, and there were no instances of children being injured. Shinde assured the high court that authorities will take prompt action if they come across incidents of children being injured as part of ritualised mourning in Muharram processions.
The court was hearing a suo-motu petition based on a public interest litigation filed by two city residents, contending that injuries were being inflicted on children in Muharram processions. The PIL, filed by Mohammed Ali Road resident Faizal Banaraswala (44) and Yari Road resident Abdul Rehman Qureshi (38), had sought a direction to authorities not to allow injuries to be inflicted on children with sharp weapons such as knives and swords. They contended that inflicting injuries on children amounted to a violation of their fundamental rights, guaranteed by the Constitution of India.
The bench, however, disposed of the petition after several members of the Shia community raised questions about the intention of the petitioners, who were Sunnis, after which the PIL was converted to a suo-motu proceeding.
Muharram is generally observed by Shias for 40 days, in course of which Matum -- a mourning ritual – is performed every day, which involves inflicting injuries on oneself.