Muharram procession disallowed in Srinagar

8 January 2009
The Hindustan Times

Srinagar: Authorities on Monday continued with the nearly 20-year-old ban on the main Muharram procession in Srinagar in the wake of security concerns. Police and the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) surrounded the Abi-Guzar locality near the city centre Lal Chowk from where the main procession was to be taken out in the morning. Shia organizations in the Kashmir Valley had announced that they would take out the procession from Abi-Guzar but could not because of the heavy presence of security forces. Muslims, particularly Shias, carry out processsion during the first 10 days of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, to commemorate the sacrifice of Prophet Mohammad's grandson Imam Hussain and his family more than 1,400 years ago in Karbala in Iraq. The main rally is held on the 10th day of the month, also known as Youm-e-Ashura. The state authorities have been disallowing the procession for security reasons since 1990 when militancy erupted in the valley. A police officer said only the main procession would be allowed besides smaller Muharram rallies in the city and other parts of the valley.