Restrictions imposed in Kashmir valley to prevent Muharram processions
Authorities on Sunday imposed strict restrictions in many parts of Srinagar and blocked roads to prevent processions on the 8th day of the Muslim month of Muharram.
Shia Muslims would take out mourning processions during the month before 1990’s. However, Muharram processions have been banned since militancy erupted in the state.
Normal life has seen several disruptions in Kashmir since August 5, when the government revoked the state’s special status and suspended communication lines and put the Valley under a security lockdown.
On Sunday, the restrictions returned to the city with concertina wires blocking roads every few 100 metres in parts of uptown as well as old city. Thousands of security forces also dotted the roads preventing movement of people.
Owing to strict restrictions, the streets wore a deserted look and at the points where security forces had laid road blocks, one could find groups of people on cycles, two-wheelers and cars pleading the forces to let them pass.
“I travelled dozens of kms from interiors to reach this point. I have to go to a hospital. Please allow me to pass,” pleaded Abdul Rashid, a middle-aged man on a bike at Barbar Shah, where security forces had blocked a bridge.
DIG, Central Kashmir, VK Birdi, did not answer the calls when reached from a landline.
An official spokesperson on Saturday said that in view of the imposition of Section 144 and to avoid any loss of life and property, govt has decided not to allow any processions in Srinagar on the occasion of Muharram.
Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Chowdhary, said restrictions were imposed in some areas owing to Muharram. “We did not want any untoward incident to happen,” he said.
He said Shias can carry out their religious functions inside their religious places.
Traditionally, a procession would be taken out from the Guru bazaar to the Dal gate area of the city on 8th Muharram before militancy erupted in the valley.
Restrictions will remain imposed on Monday as well, officials said.