Indian Govt to continue ban on Muharam processions

Indian government has continued the ban on Muharram procession in occupied Kasmir, the ban will continue for the 27th year.

The Shia clerics has questioned the prohibition on the argument that “ if government can provide adequate security arrangements for Amarnath Yatra why there is discrimination with Shia Muslims?’’ The main mourning procession will be taken out on 10th of Muharam.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmed Khan, confirmed to Rising Kashmir that the administration will not allow Muharram procession this year. He said the security agencies “take a call on prohibitions.’’

This year most of the Shia clerics had asked the administration that the processions should be allowed as “practicing religion is a fundamental right and it is the state government’s responsibility to facilitate it.”

Shia leader and senior Hurriyat (M) leader, Maulana Masroor Ansari, said if the government can make adequate security arrangements for the successful Amarnath yatra “ why can’t the Administration provide Shia Muslims adequate security for two days.’’

“It is clearly a religious discrimination with Muslims especially with the Shias. The government can ensure all the arrangements for Hindu pilgrims but when it comes to Muslims, there are security issues,” he said.

Coming down heavily on the state administration, Ansari said state government is “making excuses” even when Sunni Muslims used to take part in Muharram processions. “In Habba Kadal, the Pandits would offer water to the mourners. We used to be all together but the state has created a divide,” he said.

“We are peace loving people. In Kashmir, there has never been any Shia-Sunni conflict. It is a pure religious rally,” he said.

According to Ansari, who heads J&K Ittihadul Muslimeen, the Muharram procession was first time banned in 1986 by then government of Ghulam Muhammad Shah.

“The last Muharram procession was taken out in 1989 and since then it continues to remain banned,” Ansari said. In January 2008, Shia organisation Ittihadul Muslimeen filed a petition with Jammu Kashmir High Court seeking end to the ban on Muharam procession, but the state government did not respond positively.

In December 2009 J&K High Court had once again directed the state Government to file the objection “but the government didn’t respond.’’