Procession at Lal Chowk foiled, many detained
Srinagar: The day of Ashura, 10th of Muharram, saw curfew-like restrictions in most parts of Srinagar on Friday. Nevertheless, tens of thousands participated in the Ashura procession that was taken out in Zadibal, where people from various areas of the city began arriving from early morning.
Government authorities on Thursday had issued an order to impose restrictions in areas under the jurisdiction of more than 10 police stations, including Karan Nagar, Shaheed Gunj, Batamaloo, Shergari, Maisuma, Kothibagh, Kralkhud, Ram Munshi Bagh, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Khanyar, MR Gunj and Safakadal. Heavy deployment of government forces was seen in these restriction-bound areas. Concertina wires and police vehicles were placed on several roads that led towards Zadibal.
The mourners in Zadibal were reportedly asked not to go beyond the traditional route. Several Shia Muslims said that they had to face difficulties in trying to reach Zadibal. They said that they managed to reach Zadibal after going through narrow lanes at various places. The troops allowed them to go through narrow lanes in small groups, a group of mourners told Kashmir Reader.
In the interior streets of Zadibal, men struck their head and chest with iron blades, causing blood to flow out of their wounds. Men, women and children clad in black were out on the roads, while scores of women looked out from windows of their houses and beat their chests when the procession passed.
Several volunteers and self-help groups had pitched tents to provide first-aid and food to the mourners along the path of the procession. Several ambulances were also kept ready in case of emergency by SKIMS, which offered free medical check-up along with first-aid.
Station House Officer (SHO) Zadibal Touseef Lone made rounds during the day to assess the security arrangements. He said the processions were taken out peacefully and the situation remained under control.
Earlier in the day, an attempt to take out a procession in Lal Chowk area was foiled by police. A group of Shia Muslims led by Tehreek-i-Wahdat-ul-Islami head Nissar Hussain Rather reached Lal Chowk but police swung into action and detained Rather along with his companions.
Thousands of people including women participated in more than half a dozen processions that were taken out from other areas of the city. During the processions at Budshah Chowk, police used force to disperse a group of mourners who, while chanting slogans like “Labaik Ya Hussain”, were trying to march towards Dal Gate.
Despite repeated attempts by Kashmir Reader, Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Kothi Bagh, Imran Farooq, could not be reached for his comments regarding the situation in the city. In the morning, police sources on the field had termed the arrests of mourners as “preventive”.
In Budgam district, Ashura was observed with due solemnity and reverence. Alam, Zuljinah and Taazia processions were taken out throughout the district amid tight security arrangements.
In Magam, the main procession was taken out from Malbuchan. It culminated at Imambargah Ahmadpora. The procession terminated late in the evening after passing through its traditional route. Thousands of people including both men and women assembled at the main Imambargah in Ahmadpora after marching along in various processions.
In Budgam town, the main procession was taken out from Mirgund. After passing through its traditional route, it ended at Imambargah Budgam.
Programmes of Majalis-i-Sham-i-Gharibaan were held in the evening to pay homage to the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Husain (RA) and his companions in Maidan-i-Karbala.
— with inputs by Ishfaq Reshi