Monday, December 28
At least a dozen people were injured when Indian police used batons Monday to break up Ashura processions by Shia mourners who defied a ban and strict security lockdown in Srinagar. Condition of some of the hurt was stated to be critical.
Over three dozen others were also arrested for violating the ban on holding the processions marking the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (PBUH), the grandson of Prophet of Islam in Srinagar, a police officer said, asking not to be named.
“We had to use force after they defied prohibitory orders,” the officer said.
Shia Muslims around the world commemorate Ashura in mass processions in which poems are recited and sermons delivered while mourners, generally dressed in black, take to the streets, beat their chests, paying tribute to Imam Hussain (PBUH) and his deceased companions who were slain in the battle of Karbala, in southern Iraq, in 680 CE after fighting bravely with the much larger army of the Umayyad Caliph, Yazid ibn Moaaviyeh.
It is worth recalling here that since 1989, when an armed freedom struggle broke out against Indian rule, the authorities in Kashmir have forbidden Muharram processions in Srinagar city, which were traditionally taken out on 8th and 10th of Muharram. They allow only small mourning rallies and processions in areas with sizeable Shia populations.