Srinagar, Sep 20: Restrictions will be imposed in Old City of Srinagar and parts of the uptown here on Friday to prevent traditional Ashura procession that remains banned since the onset of militancy in the state in early 90’s.
Official sources said that fearing law and order situation in view of two important religious ceremonies—Ashura and congregational Friday prayers—in the volatile old city, the district authorities have decided to impose restrictions under section 144 Cr PC in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of Police Stations Nowhatta, Maharaj Gunj, Safa Kadal, Rainawari and Khanyar.
Similarly, curbs will also be imposed in areas falling under the jurisdiction of Police Stations Shaheed Gunj, Batmaloo, Sher Gari, Karan Nagar, Kothibagh, Maisuma, Kral Khud, and R M Bagh to prevent the Ashura procession.
“Section 144 is already in place across the district. However, tomorrow restrictions will be imposed to restrict the movement of people,” official sources told GNS.
The two major processions of 8th and 10th Muharram were banned in 1989 by the then Governor Jagmohan after an armed rebellion broke out in Kashmir against the Indian rule. Only small mourning rallies and processions are allowed in a few areas with sizeable Shia population. Authorities fear the processions could be used by resistance groups to stoke anti-India sentiments.
Ashura that marks the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) grandson, Imam Hussein (AS) and his faithful companion in the battle of Karbala nearly 1400 years ago is commemorated on the 10th day of the holy month of Muharram across the Muslim world.
In Valley, the Shia Muslims used to take out processions from several parts of uptown Srinagar on 8th and 10th Muharram that culminated at Dalgate and the historic Zadibal Imam Bara. However, after the onset of the anti-India insurgency, the religious processions were banned by the government.
If sources are to be believed, the district administration and top police brass today held a series of meeting to chalk out the strategy to deal with tomorrow’s situation.
“Maintaining law and order and at the same time ensuring smooth conduct of religious ceremonies is our challenge for tomorrow,” a top police officer wishing not to be named said. (GNS)