After 30 years, Admn allows Muharram processions across Valley

Decision evokes mixed response from Shia community

Irfan Tramboo

Srinagar, Aug 1: After a gap of more than 30 years, the divisional administration, Kashmir today allowed the Muharram processions that are set to be taken out across the Valley with the commencement of the holy month of Muharram.
In this regard, a meeting under the chairmanship of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Pandurang K Pole was held and it was decided that Muharram-ul-Haram 1443 (Hijri), shall be observed as per the past practice. “However, in view of the COVID, the guidelines shall be adhered in letter and spirit,” read the minutes of the meeting.
The administration said that all the necessary arrangements shall be put in place for the convenience of the people and the decision of the commemoration of Muharram shall be left up to the Shia Organisation for which all the Deputy Commissioners and Senior Superintendents of Police shall be in touch with them.
The dates, as per the minutes of the meeting, on which the procession will be held in various districts have been spelt out as: 6th Muharram from Gulshan Bagh to Zadibal, on 7th Muharram Kathi Darwaza to Hassanabad, 8th Gurubazar to Dalgate, 9th Mandibal to Zadibal, 10th Abi Guzar to Lal Chowk, 11th Rainawari to Hassanabad and Zadibal interiors, and on the 25th Muharram, Mirgund to Budgam.
Notbaly, the traditional Muharram procession used to be taken out from various areas in the Srinagar City way back in 1990s. However, the same were banned by the Government citing varied reasons.
The DCs in this regard have been asked to formulate a plan so that arrangements for the commemoration of Muharram 2021 are organised in the right manner.
The Div Com reiterated that developmental works which are part of the current year’s developmental action plan shall be taken up for execution so that the facilities are made available to the Shia Community before the commencement of the Muharram.
However, the decision of the administration has evoked mixed responses from the Shia political and religious leaders.
President All J&K Shia Association and general secretary J&K Peoples’ Conference, Imran Ansari while commending the administration for the decision taken, asked Aga Syed Hassan Al Moosavi to join the procession on the 10th of Muharram.
“We at All Jammu and Kashmir Shia Association welcome the Government’s decision to allow Muharram procession in Kashmir after a gap of three decades. Inshallah AJK Shia Association will lead the procession this year as per past practice,” Ansari wrote on twitter.
In another tweet, he wrote: “As a mark of respect for Shaheede Karbala Moula Imam Hussain (AS) I request Hujat ul Islam Aga Syed Hassan Al Moosavi Sb to join us at Abiguzar where the Jaloos of Ashoora will commence its journey after a gap of more than 30 years.”
However, to the contrary, the NC leader and a former legislator from Budgam, Ruhullah Mehdi expressed a different view and asked the administration to “lift the ban on Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid too.”
In a series of tweets, Mehdi said that “people should not fall for this bait and into this trap.”
“If the Friday prayers and other major religious functions (across all religions) continue to be banned and this particular procession suddenly encouraged in isolation. In that case, I see nefarious designs behind it. The people should not fall for this bait and into this trap,” he tweeted.
In another tweet, in this regard, he urged the administration to come clean on the issues and said, “To answer those questions and to make it clear that there are no nefarious designs behind this decision, this 10th Muharram procession should be preceded by Friday prayers at Jama Masjid before this 10th Muharram. Friday prayers before this year’s 10th Muharram should precede.”
Mehdi urged the administration to lift the ban on Friday prayers on Jamia. “Therefore the responsibility lies with the administration to come clean. Now that the time for Eid prayer this year has passed. Lift the ban on Friday prayers at Jama Masjid too, like you suddenly took this decision and prove that there are no nefarious designs.