Srinagar: Police used batons and fired teargas canisters to break up banned Muharram procession in uptown areas of this capital city, where restrictions were imposed by the district authorities since morning.
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.
Since early morning, CRPF and police were deployed in huge numbers in parts of uptown, including Kothi Bagh, Maisuma, Kralkhud, Shaheed Gunj, Batamaloo, Shergarhi, Karan Nagar and Ram Munshi Bagh, where restrictions were imposed to thwart the traditional 8th Muharram procession from Guru Bazar to Dalgate, reports said.
Wearing full battle gear, the forces guarded the deserted streets, lanes and by lanes of the uptown and restricted the movement of civilians.
However, defying curbs, scores of mourners assembled near the Fire Services Headquarters at Batamaloo here and tried to march towards Guru Bazar to participate in the Muharram procession. Shouting “Labaik Ya Hussain,” “Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (SAW)” and carrying Muharram flags and banners, the mourners were intercepted by cops.
“The mourners offered stiff resistance and tried to break the cordon. However, the cops used batons and lobbed a few teargas canisters to disperse them,” witnesses said.
Many mourners were detained by the police, they added.