Srinagar holds Muharram processions on traditional route, a first since 1989.

On Thursday, Muharram processions in Srinagar were taken out through the traditional route for the first time in 34 years, with the Jammu and Kashmir administration revoking a 1989 ban which prohibited mourners from marching from Gurubazar to Dalgate.

A video shared by news agency ANI showed one such procession making its way through the Gurubazar-Dalgate route. There was a tight security deployment on the occasion, and stringent conditions were put in place to ensure no untoward incident took place.

Vijay Kumar, ADGP, Kashmir Zone, said force had been deployed on the previous night itself.

“We held a detailed meeting as soon as the govt decided this (to give permission). Force is deployed from last night,” Kumar said, according to ANI.

Why were Muharram processions banned?

The year 1989 saw the beginning of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, and the participants, therefore, were seen as being ‘soft’ towards the separatist movement. The ban was kept in force by successive governments in the Valley.

Despite the prohibition, youths from the community used to take out processions on 8th and 10 Muharram on these routes, which the police used to respond to with force. Also, there was no ban on processions in other parts of the city.

Why has the ban been revoked now?

This came after top officials in the administration felt that allowing the procession will send a ‘strong signal’ about peace in the region. Subsequently, meetings were held with members of the Shia Muslim community, and the ban was eventually withdrawn.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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