Admn allows tazias at home, azadari with riders after talks with Shia cleric
The Lucknow district administration and Shia clerics have reached a consensus on letting the faithful keep tazias (a replica of the coffin of Imam Hussain carried during Muharram procession to mourn the martyrdom of the grandson of Prophet Mohammad) at home and observe azadari while distancing socially, but the issue of taking out processions remains unresolved.
Azadari is the name of the practice followed during the month of Muharram (according to the Islamic calendar)—mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hussain at the Battle of Karbala about 1,340 years ago. Shia clerics have already moved court for permission to hold the Muharram processions.
District magistrate Abhishek Prakash said, “The administration has allowed the Shia community members to keep tazias in their homes and observe azadari during Muharram, but with certain restrictions of social distancing.”
Prominent Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad had staged a dharna on Saturday evening to protest against restrictions imposed in view of the coronavirus disease pandemic.
Following this, the state government directed the district administration to initiate talks with the Shia cleric. District magistrate Abhishek Prakash, along with home secretary SK Bhagat, held a dialogue with Maulana Jawad .
“The government has sought a list of Shia clerics in every district, along with their phone numbers, from me. I will provide it. In every district, the Shia clerics will hold a meeting with the district’s civil and police officials in order to coordinate the Muharram activities with them. Everyone knows that tazias and azadari are an integral part of observing Muharram, and Shias cannot compromise on these rituals,” he said.
“We had sought permission for majlis (sermons) in all our Imambaras with a gathering of around 1,000 people. Our Imambaras are quite big and we can follow social distancing norms there. But after high-level talks with the state government, they allowed only seven Imambaras in the state capital to hold 60 minutes of majlis with only 20 attendees. Everyone else can watch online,” the Shia cleric added.
The district administration also agreed not to harass those who keep tazias at home and perform azadari, said Maulana Jawad.
He said, “Lucknow has a sizable Shia population of over three lakh, which takes out a few processions during Muharram. But due to the pandemic this time, no procession has been allowed. We have gone to court over this and expect a decision in a day or two.”