Action against Aashoora processions sparks clashes in IIOJK » Kashmir Media Service

Srinagar, August 31 (KMS): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, scores of mourners were injured and many others detained as Indian troops fired bullets and pellets to break up Aashoora processions in Srinagar and adjoining areas.

According to Kashmir Media Service, since early morning on Sunday, hundreds of personnel of Indian Army, police and Central Reserve Police Force were deployed to prevent people from assembling and taking out traditional Aashoora processions, marking the martyrdom anniversary of the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Imam Hussain (RA) and his companions in the plains of Karbala. Wearing full battle gear, the forces had sealed all lanes and bylanes connecting interior parts of Zadibal with the main road.

The forces had also placed under siege Mohalla Syed Afzal, Madin Sahab, Gulshan Bagh and other localities of Srinagar to foil the processions. Restrictions were also imposed in Lal Chowk, Srinagar, and Budgam to thwart any move of people to take out processions. However, as the day passed, mourners began reaching Zadibal, Srinagar, taking longer routes. The congested area was wrapped under a thick blanket of security. Gun toting forces’ personnel were keeping a close watch on the alleys they had blocked with razor wire. Till 2:30 pm, an eerie silence prevailed in Zadibal area of the old city.

Around 15 minutes later, mourners started converging at a small park in Donipora locality. The numbers started swelling as ‘Labaik Ya Hussain’ chants resonated in the air. By 3:00, the small group had turned into a big procession. As the procession moved a few hundred metres towards the shrine of Mir Shamsuddin Araki, the troops intercepted it.

“Everything was going well. The mourners in the procession were peaceful. Troops deployed at an intersection in Alalmgiri Bazar fired pellets and lobbed pepper shells towards the procession without any reason or rhyme,” Shabbir Hussain, an eyewitness told media. The action by forces, Hussain said infuriated the mourners, mostly youth, who engaged the troops in pitched battles.

“The clashes spread like wildfire. Groups of youth fought ding-dong battles with troops near Baba Mazar and Gasiyar Chowk. The forces burst teargas canisters, fired pellets to disperse the mourners. However, the mourners didn’t relent and continued to march,” Hussain said. According to Hussain, nearly 20 youth were injured in the clashes that continued till late evening. Three youth suffered serious pellet injuries in eyes. They have been identified as Tawheed Ali, Abrar Ahmad Baba and Abid Ahmad.

Bashir Ahmad, a resident of Kathmaidan said that the action by the forces turned Zadibal into a war zone after attacking peaceful procession without any provocation. “Some tear smoke shells landed in Muharram processions and some in residential houses. The troops had gone berserk,” Ahmad said.

However, fearing arrests, many of the injured persons were not taken to hospitals, but treated locally. “I have lost the count of injured,” said a resident of Zadibal.

The troops also used force on mourners in several parts of Dal interiors, including Zaildar Mohalla, Sultan Mohalla, Ranger Stop and Ashai Bagh. The troops without any provocation went on rampage damaging cars and bikes parked in the lanes and broke windowpanes of several houses.

It is for the first time since the major Muharram processions in Srinagar were banned in 1989 that authorities disallowed Aashoora procession in Zadibal area of the city.


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