Amid strict restrictions imposed by authorities Thursday in the Srinagar city to thwart procession by Shias on 8th Muharram, clashed erupted between mourners and security forces in some areas. Police and CRPF were deployed to thwart the procession on the traditional route from Shaheed Gunj to Dalgate. Normal life was completely paralysed due to the restriction imposed by areas falling under police station Maisuma, Shaheedgunj, Karan Nagar, Batamaloo, Shergarhi and Ram Munshi Bagh in the city. A number of mourners were detained as they tried to cross police barricades. Police and CRPF fired tear gas to disperse the mourners as they defied restrictions and attempted to reach Jahangir Chowk from Shaheed Gunj, Batamaloo in a procession in the afternoon. When they reached Jahangir Chowk, security forces fired dozens of tear gas and pepper gas shells to disperse them. The authorities blocked all entry points to Lal Chowk to prevent Shiite processions by placing concertina and barbed wires at major road junctions. Traffic, schools, business units and government offices remained completely affected due to restrictions. Inspector General of Police Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani told KNS that situation in Srinagar “remained normal”, barring some minor clashes. IGP had yesterday said that police would not allow the procession of Shias on 8th Muharram on the traditional routes “taking the security situation into view”. During the Islamic month of Muharram, Shiites across the world mourn the death of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam Hussein in the Iraqi city of Kerbala in the year 680. The 8th and 10th Muharram processions remain banned in Srinagar due to “serious security and law and order problems” after the eruption of militancy in 1989. Before 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. Only small mourning rallies and processions are allowed in selected areas with Shiite populations. However, the ban has been protested by the Shias, who accuse the government of religious infringement.
2015 Kashmir Despatch