Strict curfew-like restrictions were imposed by the Government agencies in parts of Srinagar, including downtown areas, on the occasion of Ashura, the 10th day of the mourning for the Shia community on Tuesday.
The Government had earlier announced on Saturday that no procession shall be allowed in district Srinagar on September 8, 9, 10 on Muharram. On Saturday, police had to resort to mild lathicharge and use of tear-gas shells to disperse local residents trying to take out Muharram procession in Hasnabad.
Officials in Srinagar said, “Due to prevailing security situation even small Muharram processions were not allowed by the security forces this year”.
Traditionally, Shias would carry out a huge procession from Lal Chowk to Dalgate. However, the practice was banned in 1988. However, large processions would be allowed in all Shia-majority areas of Srinagar, Budgam and Baramulla on 8th and 10th day of Muharram. Local residents in Srinagar claimed they had never seen such tough security measures during Muharram even during days of peak militancy in the State.
Apart from spreading thick rolls of concertina wires in Shia dominated area of Zadibal, strong barricades were raised at several places to block the streets in vulnerable pockets to prevent assembly of mourners in downtown areas of Srinagar.
Iconic Lal Chowk area was also declared out of bounds by the security forces and thick posse of security forces remained deployed in the areas blocking all routes leading to the clock tower in the area.
Similar restrictions remained in place in Shia dominated pockets of Budgam, neighboring district of Srinagar and Baramulla.
Elsewhere, Muharram processions were disallowed in Kashmir Valley while in several areas of Jammu region members of the Shia community took out the 10th day Ashura processions to observe the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. Members of the Shia community took out these processions in Poonch and Jammu peacefully.
In Srinagar, normal life remained paralysed for the 36th day in succession. Even private transport remained off the road on Tuesday while markets remained closed.
The streets across sensitive areas were dominated by the heavy presence of security forces at every nook and corner. At several places, security forces had parked their vehicles to even block the view of local residents from street corners.
However, a large number of local residents in Zadibal area, who could not take out procession, had managed to fix black flags and the religious banners with prayers at several places.
In the past, the State Government used to impose restrictions to prevent mass assembly of people from participating in anti-India protests.