Restrictions were reimposed in several parts of Kashmir on Sunday as the administration banned Muharram processions, reported PTI. Shia Muslims organise the processions to observe the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Husayn in the Battle of Karbala.
A huge of number of security personnel were deployed at Lal Chowk and adjoining areas. The commercial hub was cordoned off by concertina wires at all entry points. Only people with medical emergencies were allowed to pass the barricade. However, these religious processions will be allowed in the Shia-majority areas of Zadibal, Budgam and Hasnabad, according to The Hindu.
Officials have not explicitly mentioned why the restrictions were reimposed. “In view of the imposition of Section 144 of the CrPC and in order to avoid any loss to life and property, the government has decided that no procession shall be allowed in district Srinagar on Muharram on September 8, 9, 10,” read the government order, according to The Hindu.
Reports suggested that the restrictions were brought back as authorities were apprehensive that large congregations might lead to violence. Traditionally, people from the Shia community organise a march from Lal Chowk to Dalgate. It was banned in 1989 at the peak of militancy as the procession used to turn into anti-India protests.
Jammu and Kashmir was put under prohibitory orders and an unprecedented communications blackout on August 5 hour before the government revoked its autronomy. The prohibitory orders are being lifted gradually but the communications blockade remains in many parts.
Journalists injured in Hasnabad
The government’s decision to bring back the restrictions came a day after clashes between protestors and security forces in Hasnabad. A local photojournalist was hit by pellets and three journalists, identified as Shahid Khan, Mubashir Dar and Bilal Bhat, were injured by Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel, reported The Print. The camera of a photojournalist was allegedly broken by the police to stop the coverage of a procession.
The photojournalists alleged that station house officer Rashid Khan ordered the police to beat up the reporters. “I was hit by three pellets, one in the head, one in the shoulder and one in the leg,” the photojournalist, who did not want to be identified, told The Print.
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