Netizens have questioned why Muharram procession is banned in Kashmir, while there is unprecedented security during the Amarnath Yatra? The government of Jammu & Kashmir has issued a notice stating that there will be a ban on Muharram processions in several regions of Kashmir including the capital city of Srinagar. But what makes the J&K government curb the religious aspirations of the minority Shia community?
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Ashura or Muharram processions have been banned by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir since the 1990s when there was a rise in militancy in the state. Smaller processions are permitted in various Shia-pockets of the state, including in the districts of Baramulla, Kulgam, Leh and Kargil.
Due to the upheaval in the Kashmir Valley, the government disallowed Muharram processions. The decision taken by then governor Jagmohan did not go well with the minority Shia community, who believed that their fundamental rights were being snatched.
This made the Shia community defy the restrictions, despite being clamped down and getting injured or arrested by the security forces. Shia clerics have blamed the state government for “divide and rule politics in the Kashmir valley.
Sources claim that the government is worried about the eruption of “pro-freedom protests” during the Muharram procession. Recently Shia mourners carried pictures of slain militant commander Burhan Wani and raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.
The administration in its defence claims that people are assembling not only for religious purposes but politics as well. Police officers are stating that people of multiple religious and political motives are using the Muharram procession to vent out their anger against the state, thus, deteriorating the overall situation in the valley.