Amid restrictions imposed in some parts of Srinagar following directions of the High Court, Muharram processions are held peacefully across the district with the attendance of devotees in large numbers.
Quoting Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar Rakesh Balwal, a local news agency reported that there was excellent cooperation between the Shia devotees and the police.
"We didn't use force anywhere today. I guess it would be for the first time that not even a single tear gas shell has been fired till now and lathicharge also not used at all to restrict the Muharram processions," the SSP said.
According to the police, the situation is normal so far and some youth tried to come out at certain places individually on prohibited routes but were taken into preventive custody without using any force.
However, some youth tried to take out processions in the area where restrictions have been imposed. The majority of them ran away from the scene after cops chased them, and some of them were taken into preventive custody by the police.
Restrictions imposed after High Court's directions
On the directions of the High Court of J&K, the District Magistrate Srinagar has decided that processions related to Muharram-ul-Haram 1444 (Hijri) on Guru Bazar towards Buchwara and Abi Guzar towards Zadibal routes respectively will not be allowed keeping in view public Security and law and order.
Pertinent to mention that, in a writ petition(C) No 7/2022, titled Aga Syed Mujtaba Abass V/S UT of J&K and others, the High Court had asked the competent authority to decide the representation of the petitioners most expeditiously preferably within in a period of three days.
In this regard, the District Magistrate, Srinagar issued a formal order on Saturday, which cited various past incidents of violence.
The order reads, "Whereas the undersigned held a detailed meeting involving all the Field Magistrates, Police officers and leaders of Shia Community wherein they were briefed about the routes allowed/ disallowed for Muharram procession".
The order further stated that "Whereas, law and order and security concern is the top most priority of the Government of the Jammu and Kashmir keeping in view the larger public interest and safety of its citizens".
"In view of the above-stated facts and circumstances read in conjunction with the reports of intelligence agencies thereof, more particularly the security concerns of the District Srinagar with respect to the Muharram, the processions therein cannot be allowed on the Gurubazar toward Buchwara and Abi-Guzar towards Zadibal routes respectively, keeping in mind the public interest, law & order and security", the order also added.
The order reads "That it is witnessed from past instances/cases and upon analysis of reports/data from different security agencies with regard to incidents which have occurred during the Muharram, it is evident that not only there has been a breach in peace and law and order, but also there have been Sectarian clashes which have resulted in a breach of peace and threat to the maintenance of law and order and also resulted in damage to public property and injuries to civilians and security forces as well.
DM seeks the cooperation of devotees to ensure the safety of citizens
Meanwhile, the District Magistrate(DM) has said that Administration respects the religious sentiments and practices of all, at the same time it is the joint responsibility of one and all to adhere to the security measures to ensure the protection and safety of all citizens.
The DM also said that alternate routes for conducting Muharram Processions on said occasion have already been provided to perform the ceremonies peacefully. He further said in case of violation of said order police/security agencies will take cognizance of the matter under the law.
Youths need to strictly abide by the decision of the @srinagaradmin in regards to tomorrow's procession from Shaheed Gunj to Dalgate. Even though many Shia organizations had pleaded to allow this procession but seem the admin has their apprehensions. Let's unite for #HUSSAINIAT— Aaqib Ahmad Bhat (@AaqibAhmadBhat8) August 6, 2022