80 hurt as police break up Shia rallies in Kashmir
Around 80 people were hurt on Tuesday when Indian police fired teargas and used bamboo canes to break up a Shiite Muslim procession in revolt-hit Kashmir, police and witnesses said.india Updated: Jan 06, 2009 19:33 IST
Around 80 people were hurt on Tuesday when Indian police fired teargas and used bamboo canes to break up a Shiite Muslim procession in revolt-hit Kashmir, police and witnesses said.
Nearly 150 others were detained on charges of violating prohibitory orders in force in the state summer capital Srinagar, said police officer Pervez Ahmed.
The procession was held as Shiite Muslims throughout the world begin holding rallies and processions during the Islamic month of Moharram.
The events commemorate the death in 680 AD of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, and his close relatives and supporters in the Battle of Karbala in modern-day Iraq.
Moharram processions have been banned in Indian-held Kashmir since the outbreak of an anti-Indian insurgency in 1989 that has so far left more than 47,000 people dead by an official count.
Only small mourning rallies and processions are allowed during Moharram in select areas with large Shiite populations.
The clergy and local political groups have termed the restrictions as "unwarranted interference" in religious affairs.
The authorities say the emotional religious rituals could be exploited by anti-India separatists. The main mourning processions, including both officially sanctioned and banned ones, are scheduled to take place Thursday.