The ruling Trinamool Congress party in West Bengal on Thursday urged the Muslim community not to display weapons in processions during Muharram, which falls on September 21 this year. Some Shia Muslims flagellate themselves with chains and swords on Muharram to commemorate the killing of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussain in the Battle of Karbala in the 7th Century.
“We have reached out to leaders of the community to ensure Muharram is observed in a way that does not hurt sentiments of members of other communities,” Trinamool Congress MP Idris Ali said, according to the Hindustan Times. “We urge Muslims to shun the practice of carrying swords during processions not only because the practice has no sanction in Islam, but also because such communal forces as the Bharatiya Janata Party are trying to foment trouble.”
West Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh said the Trinamool Congress’ appeal was a “moral victory” for the saffron party.
Maulana Shafique Qasmi, the imam of Kolkata’s Nakhoda mosque, also asked members of the Muslim community not to display swords during Muharram. Maulana Imdadul Rashidi, an imam from Asansol, said brandishing swords during Muharram was “un-Islamic”.
In 2017, there was a controversy over Muharram and Durga Puja immersions. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had asked the organisers of Durga Puja festivities to seek permission from the state government for idol immersions since it clashed with Muharram on October 1, 2017. This came after her earlier order banning immersions on that day was revoked by the Calcutta High Court.