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Curfew reimposed in Kashmir on Muharram to prevent large gatherings

The Muharram processions stand banned in Kashmir since 1990 when the armed insurgency began.

SNS | New Delhi |

Curfew was reimposed in several parts of Kashmir including Srinagar on the occasion of Muharram as authorities were apprehensive of large gatherings which might lead to violence.

Considering this occasion, authorities in Kashmir reimposed curfew-like restrictions. Commercial hub of Lal Chowk in Srinagar, and adjoining areas were completely sealed off by placing concertina wires at all entry points where large number of security force personnel were deployed, officials said

Restrictions have been in several parts of Kashmir as a precautionary measure for maintaining law and order in the Valley, they said

The officials did not cite any reasons for reimposing restrictions but it is believed that the step was taken to prevent Muharram processions in the city and elsewhere in the Valley. The processions stand banned in Kashmir since 1990 when armed insurgency began.

Muharram is considered as one of the sacred months of the Islamic lunar calendar. The battle of Karbala, in which Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet, had attained martyrdom, is said to have been taken place in the 7th century. It is a period of mourning and grief for Muslims. Many carry out processions on the peak ceremonial mourning day called Ashura which falls on September 10 this year. Shia Muslim community mourns Imam Hussain Ali’s death on the day of Ashura by flagellating themselves with sharp objects on Muharram.

Intense lockdown has been in place in Kashmir since August 5 when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 and bifurcate the state into union territories. The restrictions were lifted in phases from many parts of the Valley as the situation allegedly improved according to the authorities.

The authorities have been imposing restrictions in vulnerable areas of the Valley every Friday, to prevent large gatherings at big mosques and shrines which might fuel protests by the locals.

Meanwhile, normal life remained severely affected in Kashmir due to shutdown in the Valley which entered 37th day on Tuesday. Markets and other business establishments remained closed while public transport was off the roads across the Valley, the officials said

Most of the local politicians have been detained, while mainstream leaders, including three former chief ministers, Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have also been placed under house arrest.

(With inputs from PTI)