Barring Zadibal, Ashura Mourning’s Concluded Peacefully With Modest Gatherings Across Kashmir


SRINAGAR: On the last of the 10-days Ashura mourning, Kashmir remained tense and charged. There were clashes and use of force at some places but reports suggest Tazia processions did take places in Budgam, Bemina, Delina, Magam,Pandrethan and Kargil. Even the inside Zadibal belts, there were small Tazia processions at a time when the police remained engaged with a gathering near the Shri Bhat link for most of the afternoon.

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Authorities had made massive deployments and enforced strict restrictions in the area where traditionally major Tazia gatherings are reported. After the mourning-cop brawls on eighth of Muharram in Budgam, the police did not interrupt the huge gathering that converged in Budgam. Journalists who were on the ground said the mourners were offering face masks and distributing sanitizers to ensure the gathering does not lead to spread of the contagion. One report said that Budgam witnessed the biggest Tazia in many years. There were small processions reported in Wanihama, Hayatpora, Khanpora and Ichgam as well.

The Ashura evening as imagined by Iranian miniaturist Mahmud Farshchian

Bemina that witnessed the use of force by the police against a gathering of mourners on Saturday also was reported clam. The mourners, however, did come out with a Tazia procession.

Reports from Kargil said that there were Tazia processions following the SOP and there were no tensions reported anywhere.

However, most of the tensions remained restricted to Zadibal that would normally witness the biggest Tazia procession of the day. There were small splinter processions but no major gathering.

A journalist who lives in the area said that barely two per cent of the mourners – in comparison to earlier years, did participate in the mourning processions. “Most of the people remained either restricted to their homes, to Imamabara or to a local shrine,” the journalist said.

He said the tensions erupted in the afternoon when a group of youth tried to tell law enforced agencies that permitting processions in small lanes makes them vulnerable to the infection in comparison to having the Tazia gathering on the main Aalamgiri Bazar Road. “This seemingly led to a quarrel and the police did use tear smoke, pellets and pepper gas,” he said, insisting, “The people think the use of the gases added to their vulnerability because people started coughing and in certain cases serious coughing.”

Police sources said that they reacted when one of their cops who was deployed in the area was injured. They also have released his photograph indicating that he was seemingly hit by a stone. Unlike the rare areas including Tilsar, Khushal Sar belt, the police and a group of youth were busy in ding dong battles near the main road, till dusk. A report said that IGP Kashmir and SSP Srinagar visited most of the areas and were around and assessing the situation.

Residents said the people who were coming from various localities from within and outside Srinagar could not join the joint mourning, this year. “They may have locally joined the mourning’s but I am not aware, “one resident said. Residents said they have no idea about the number of persons who might have been injured or who were rounded up. But they insisted that people were injured and some were arrested by police.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has strongly condemned the use of force on peaceful Moharram procession in Kashmir, terming such government action blatant display of barbarism in broad daylight. In a statement issued here, PDP spokesman and party’s media advisor Syed Suhail Bukhari has said that militating against a peaceful religious gathering has reflected government iron fist approach it has been adopting in Kashmir without any compunction.  He added that government’s such ruthless measures have proved beyond doubt that religion is being demonised, democratic dissent criminalised and cruelty is being normalised in Kashmir.

Muharram procession in Srinagar on Sunday, August 30, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Paying glorious tributes to martyrs of Karbala, the spokesman has said that the supreme sacrifices made by Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions at Karbala taught us a lesson on upholding the principles of righteousness in all trying circumstances and denying forces of evil to make us bow or succumb before them.  He added that 10th Ashura is a beacon of light for Muslims and would continue to enlighten and guide all mankind forever. “Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions symbolise the firm faith in the Almighty, purity of thought and greatest degree of sacrifice to uphold truth and human dignity,” he said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress (JKPCC) paid rich tributes to Martyrs of Karbala, describing them as an inspiration for all the generations to come. Its President G A Mir their sacrifices as a true message of harmony and an inspiration for all the generations to come. Mir said the sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA)and companions shall continue to guide the people at the path of peace and righteousness.

Mir recalled the sacrifices of Martyrs of Karbala and said Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his companion have strengthened the foundation of Islam and their sacrifices shall continue to enlighten the people about the good and evil, right and the wrong. The grandsons of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and their companions gave their blood for the prestige of Islam, Mir added and saluted the valour.


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