Srinagar: The police on Tuesday disallowed Muharram processions in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir by imposing stringent restrictions and sealed off select areas to avoid “protests and violence.” Several Shia Muslim mourners were also detained as the state administration had decided to not allow processions for Muharram this year.
The members of the procession—consisting mostly of young people -were tear-gassed and lathi-charged by the police. In these incidents, while chasing the protestors, dozens of Shia Muslims were arrested. Many mourners were carrying placards with “free Kashmir” slogans written on them.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir range Vijay Kumar, in a tweet, said, “We respect the religious sentiments and practices of all. But at the same time it is also our joint responsibility to defeat the ill designs of vested interests who try to disturb the peaceful atmosphere”.
However, it is important to note that the Shia Muslims in Kashmir have been targeted by the police from past few years to prevent Muharram processions. Last year, clashes were reported between Shia mourners and security forces in several areas of Srinagar.
Journalists while covering the Muharram processions in the Jehangir Chowk area of Srinagar city were also beaten up by the police and lathi-charged by them. Policemen also thrashed some of the journalists and damaged their equipment.
The police are yet to officially confirm the number of detentions.