Curbs, clashes mark Ashura processions in J&K

Several mourners were detained on Friday when they tried to defy restrictions imposed by the police in Srinagar areas on the occasion of Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram, even as major Ashura processions elsewhere in the Valley passed off peacefully.
Curbs, clashes mark Ashura processions in J&K
Photo: Habib Naqash/GK

Several mourners were detained on Friday when they tried to defy restrictions imposed by the police in Srinagar areas on the occasion of Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram, even as major Ashura processions elsewhere in the Valley passed off peacefully.

The police had imposed stringent curbs in Downtown and some other parts of the city, including LalChowk, as a "precautionary measure to maintain peace" on the day of Ashura, which is observed every year in memory of Imam Hussain (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who was martyred along with his family members and companions in Karbala, Iraq, more than 1400 years ago.

The police even disallowed Friday congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid here, drawing widespread condemnation, while the chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under arrest at his Nigeen residence.


According to reports and witnesses, major processions were taken out peacefully in Srinagar, Budgam, Sumbal, Ganderbal and Kargil areas.

In Srinagar's LalChowk, mourners made series of bids to take out the Ashura processions, but the police foiled the same. The Srinagar administration had imposed partial curbs in areas falling under jurisdiction of police station Kothibagh, while strict restrictions remained in place in areas falling under police stations Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, SafaKadal and MaharajGunj, to "foil major Ashura gatherings."

A witness said that all roads leading to LalChowk were blocked with concertina wire and iron barricades, while policemen were deployed in huge numbers to keep a close watch on the mourners.

However, a massive procession was taken out from BotaKadal area of Srinagar that passed through Alamgari Bazar and other areas of Downtown before culminating at Imam Bara, Zadibal. The mourners raised pro-Islam and pro-freedom slogans.

Thousands of people participated in the procession amid beating of chests and reciting praises for Imam Hussain (AS).

"The procession ended peacefully at Imam Bara Zadibal," said Murtaza Ali, a mourner.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik also joined the mourners at Zadibal and participated in the 'Zuljanah' procession. He also addressed the mourners and reiterated the Joint Resistance Leadership's call for boycott of the upcoming civic polls in Kashmir.

Malik said that everybody must follow the JRL's slogan— "No election, only right to self-determination."

According to a statement issued by Anjuman-e-Shar-e-Shian, Ashura procession was taken out from AbiGuzarLalChowk despite restrictions. It was led by Aga Syed Ahmad.

"The mourners were stopped by the police and thrashed at Maulana Azad Road but they showed stiff resistance and were detained. Some mourners were beaten up by the police," the statement said. "Many mourners were injured in the police action."

Condemning use of force by the police, the Anjuman's president Aga Syed Hassan AlmosviAlsafvi said that the police action amounts to direct interference into religious affairs.

"Police have become habitual of using force against mourners," he said.

Another Ashura procession which commenced from HussainiSabeelgahBaghwanporaLal Bazar, passed through Masjid Imam Hussain (AS) and Hakim Mohalla and culminated at Imam Bara, AbulFazalAbbass (AS) Baghwanpora.

Senior superintendent of police Srinagar, Imtiaz Ismail said that a few mourners who defied curbs in LalChowk were detained and later released. "All the Muharram processions across Srinagar passed off peacefully," he said.

Another major procession was reported from Mirgund area that culminated at Imam Bara, Budgam.

Thousands of mourners participated in a procession from Babul AlamMirgund which culminated at MarkaziImambaraBudgam where Aga Syed Hasan led the Friday congregational prayers.

On the occasion, Hasan threw light on the life and teachings of Imam Hussain (AS) and asked the people to follow the teachings of Islam.

"The martyrs of Karbala have set an example before us through their deeds. Imam Hussain (AS) fought against the evil forces who were hell bent upon spreading anarchy and tarnish the image of Islam," he said.

He also condemned use of force on the mourners.

Meanwhile, Zuljana procession was also taken out at Zadibal which was led by Aga Syed MuntazirAlmosvi. Besides, Zuljana processions were taken out at Abadpora, Awadawra, BoghaChhal, Astan Sharif WuyenChadoora, PalarBudgam, Malik GundChatargam, AstanporaSikandarpora, GulshanBaghBatakadal, KhomeniChowk, Awdeena, Zalpora, GundNawgam, Sonaburn, Inderkoot, Gawmadao, Kehnpeth, Chhalipora, Hayatpora, Batapora, Rawalpora, Malapora, Daslipora, Chhalipora, Devrah, Norkah, Kamalkot Uri, PanarJagir, Chhatargul and other areas across Kashmir. Ashura procession was taken out in Shadipora, Sumbal in Bandipora district.

Ashura processions were also taken out in several areas of Ganderbal district. Hundreds of mourners joined these processions in Dab, Wakura, Kullan and Nilgrath areas to pay rich tributes to Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and other martyrs of Karbala. Similar processions were held at Baramulla and Sopore.

Addressing the mourners, speakers said that Imam Hussain (AS) sacrificed his life for the glory of Islam.

Thousands of mourners participated in big Ashura processions in Kargil district. The annual ritual attracts thousands of Shia mourners from various villages to the Kargil town. These processions were organised by Islamia School Kargil and Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust.

"Adequate number of policemen was deployed to maintain security while various voluntary organisations including Al Reza Healthcare and Research Foundation and Baqirya Healthcare and Research Center provided free medical aid to the mourners," a witness said.

"In Drass, Suru, Sankoo, Barso, Saliskote and Chikten areas, people also observed the day of Ashura with religious zeal and took out a procession in which thousands men and women took part," a witness said.

Reports of major Ashura processions also poured in from Jammu areas.  Meanwhile, the government's decision to disallow Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid on Ashura evoked strong condemnation from Anjuman-e-AuqafJamia Masjid and Hurriyat Conference (M).

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