Forces use batons, tear gas shells to break up Muharram procession

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Srinagar: At least six mourners were injured on Wednesday when government forces used batons and fired teargas canisters to break up traditional 8th Muharram procession in this capital city during which over seventy mourners were detained and many, including women allegedly ‘thrashed’ by the forces.

Reports said that since early morning mourners in small batches made attempts to reach Shaheed Gunj area of the city to take out the traditional 8th Muharram procession that was banned in the early nineties.

At least a dozen mourners were detained near Jehangir Chowk here when they were on their way to Shaheed Gunj to take the procession. The mourners shouting ‘Labaik Ya Hussain’ were bundled in police vans and whisked away, witnesses told GNS.

Minutes later, another group of mourners appeared near the fire and services department at Batamaloo and the High Court and tried to take out Muharram procession. However, the CRPF and police deployed in advance used batons and detained nearly twenty mourners.

Around 1:45 pm, dozens of mourners at Dalgate tried to march towards Maulana Azad road in a bid to take out the procession. However, government forces used batons and fired numerous tear smoke shells to break up the procession.

“The mourners regrouped and continued shouting pro-Islam and pro-Hussain slogans. More and more mourners joined in as government forces battled to contain the situation,” Fayaz Ahmad, an eyewitness told GNS.

He said that many mourners were brutally thrashed by the government forces when they refused to disperse.

While the forces were trying to disperse mourners at Dalgate, another group of appeared near the corporate headquarters of Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited. Carrying Islamic flags and shouting pro-Islam slogans, the mourners were intercepted by the CRPF and police from proceeding ahead.

“The forces lobbed tear gas after they failed to disperse mourners with batons. The situation turned uglier when a policeman tried to snatch Alam (flag) from a mourner,” Bashir Ahmad, a mourner said.

Another Muhrram procession from Shaheed Gunj was dealt with force when it reached near Jehangir Chowk this evening. The government forces allegedly thrashed many mourners, including women.

However, despite all odds, hundreds of mourners took out a procession from Maulana Azad road that culminated at Hyderia Hall peacefully.

Official sources told GNS that 27 mourners were lodged at Kothi Bagh police station, 23 at Batamaloo and 31 at Maisuma.

Meanwhile, Hurriyat Conference chairman, Syed Ali Geelani has strongly condemned the use of ‘brute force’ against the Muharram procession in different parts of the valley.

Terming the police action as a sheer interference in the religious matters of the Muslims, Geelani said the use of excessive force against the Muslims participating in the peaceful religious processions has exposed the ‘fascist and biased mentality of the occupation authorities’ towards the Muslims. (GNS)

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