The government won’t allow 8th Muharram procession in Srinagar on Thursday as authorities have decided to enforce restrictions in city centre to foil any procession by Shia mourners.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir SJM Gilani told Rising Kashmir that nobody would be allowed to take out the 8th Muharram procession in Srinagar tomorrow.
“We will not allow any procession. Strict restrictions will be imposed in Lal Chowk area tomorrow to prevent people from assembling in city centre and taking out the procession,” he said.
Gilani said no religious body has sought permission from the authorities for taking out the procession in Srinagar.
“Neither anyone approached us for permission to take out the procession and nor are we going to allow it” he said.
The government has banned 8th and 10th Muharram processions in Srinagar after the eruption of militancy in 1989. Prior to ban, the 8th Muharram procession used to be taken out from Shaheed Gunj and would culminate at Dalgate while 10th Muharram procession was taken out from Abi- Guzar to Imam Bara Zadibal.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Farooq Ahmad Lone said restrictions would be imposed in Lal Chowk tomorrow to maintain law and order situation.
“Restriction will be enforced in Lal Chowk area to maintain peace, tranquility and law and order,” he said.
However, senior Shia leader and president Ittehad-ul- Muslimeen Moulana Masroor Abass Ansari said restrictions would be defied and he would himself lead a procession from Shaheed Gunj.
Terming ban on Muharram processions as interference in religious affairs, he said, “We are not allowed to take out peaceful processions. We do not create any violence or law and order situation but assemble to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS)”.
Ansari accused government of double standards. “The government which does not permit us to commemorate the martyrdom of grandson of Prophet (SAW), makes huge arrangements for the Hindu pilgrimage Amarnath”.
Meanwhile, Pairwan-e- Villayat general secretary Aga Syed Muhammad Yasoob Almousvi has condemned government’s ban on two largest Muharram processions in Srinagar.
“It is sheer discrimination against us. Authorities every year use unjustified force against peaceful mourners,” he said.
Almousvi demanded intervention of international Muslim religious bodies to press for lifting ban on Muharram processions in the State.