SRINAGAR: Authorities imposed strict restrictions in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk and adjoining areas to disallow Muharram processions on Friday.

Lal Chowk has been sealed and cops prevent any movement of people on Friday, August 28, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Official sources told news agency GNS that curbs were imposed in areas falling under eight police stations—Batamaloo, Shaheed Gunj, Karanagar, Maisuma, Kothibagh, Shergrahi, Kralkhud and Ram Munshibagh.

Spools of concertina wires were rolled out on the roads to restrict the movement of vehicles, and to stop people from converging on the traditional routes for joint processions on 8th Muharram.

Sources said barricades were laid to block main roads in Batamaloo, Residency Road, Dalgate, Ram Munishbagh and Maisuma to prevent mourners from assembling in large numbers. All shops in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk remained closed due to curbs.

Paramilitary forces and police also deployed buses, mobile bunkers and bullet-proof vehicles as barricades to cut off some areas.

Prior to 1990, on the 8th day of Muharram, Ashura procession would commence from Shaheed Gunj area, pass through MA Road and later culminate at Imam Bara Dalgate.

However, during the past 30 years, authorities have not allowed the processions, citing security reasons. For the last several years, mourners have been defying restrictions to carry out the procession. However, police would buddle them into vehicles and release them later.

On Thursday, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K Pole said that restrictions shall continue on all religious processions and gatherings in all districts in wake of Covid-19.

A deserted view of Hari Singh high street area of Srinagar after restrictions were imposed on the movement of people on Friday, August 28, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

He urged the heads of these bodies to use their influence and aware people about the importance of following Covid-19 related SOPs including social distancing protocol and use of face masks while commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS) and other martyrs of Karbala during these days.


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