Ashura Mourners Injured As Police Uses Tearsmoke, Pellets

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SRINAGAR: An unspecified numbers of Ashura mourners were injured as police used tear-smoke and pellets to quell the groups in Bemina, reports said. The police action came at a time when the people were in groups busy in Muharram mourning at the centre of the Khomanie Chowk.

Mourners in black robes facing police (not in picture) at Bemina on Saturday, August 29, 2020. This was the venue of a local Ashoora mourning that police disrupted. Almost half a dozen mourners are reported injured. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Though the authorities had imposed strict restrictions in the twin Budgam and Srinagar districts to prevents any Ashura related assembly, the faithful came out in small groups within the localities. These gatherings, residents said, were local and peaceful.

Police intervention, however, led to the pitched battles between the mourners and the cops. The latter used metallic pellets in which almost half a dozen were reported to have been injured in Bemina alone. Most of them were driven to the SMHS Hospital.

Imran Raza Ansari said the administration had granted them permission for the mourning. “Want to ask the JK Admin if permission was granted for the peaceful procession with Covid 19 SOPs why were the Mourners of Imam Hussain beaten up brutally,” he wrote on Twitter.

The tweet, however, triggered a serious retaliation with people posting the gruesome pictures of the day. In one a young man has pellets on his face and eyes closed. This led Ansari later to share a picture himself asking “why”.

Using Twitter, PDP termed it “blatant display of barbarism in broad daylight” in “Naya Kashmir”.  religion is demonised, democratic dissent criminalised and cruelty normalised. Mohit Bhan, the party’s Jammu spokesman posted two pictures each from Bemina mourning and Jagannath Yatra Odhisa to convey the change.

Police have said that they prevented the gathering and processions under the directions of the government taken in wake of Covid-19 pandemic.  They have told reporters that they have used “minimum force” in response to stone-pelting.

Residents alleged that most of the mourners were peaceful, masked and maintaining social distancing. They said the brick batting took place only after the police intervened and interrupted the mourning.

Authorities have decided that strict restrictions will remain in place on Sunday on the tenth day of the Muharram. The day witnesses massive procession in Budhgam and various parts of Srinagar. The eighth day of Muharram also witnessed massive police cation in Budgam in which aerial shots were allegedly fired.

‘Imam Hussain, His Companions Sacrificed Lives For Upholding Values Of Truth’: LG’s Message On Ashura

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