Continuing with its tough stand against the Muharram processions in the Kashmir valley, the Jammu and Kashmir police Sunday used water cannons and teargas to disperse mourners. Photojournalist Faisal Khan shows you some of the frames he captured.
A policeman stands guard at the Jehangir Chowk that moments after the picture was taken became a site of furious protests. Uptown Srinagar’s two police stations were placed under undeclared curfew and the police lobbed tear gas shells at mourners and arrested dozens in an attempt to scuttle any procession.
A clash broke out near Jehangeer Chowk adjacent to commercial hub Lal Chowk when mourners converged there in the afternoon and started a procession, banned by the authorities in 1990 at the outbreak of militancy.
The police fired tear smoke shells and rounded up several mourners to quell the procession. Hurriyat Conference (M) leader Abbas Ansari’s son was also arrested by the police in the clampdown.
Earlier in the day, the authorities had put strict restriction on movement of people and vehicles by placing iron barricades and concertina wires in and around Lal Chowk. Heavy deployments were also made in downtown Srinagar area, traditionally a pro-freedom bastion. There were reports of minor clashes in downtown Srinagar on the occasion. The police said there were no reports of injuries till 5 pm.
Traditionally, Shia Muslims would march from Guru Bazzar and proceed through Lal Chowk. The procession would culminate at Dalgate, on the extreme end of Lal Chowk.”Restrictions had to be imposed in the areas as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order,” SSP Srinagar Ashiq Bukhari told the Press.
The state administration has banned Muharram procession in uptown Srinagar since 1990s. Most such processions turned into pro-freedom protests in early 1990s forcing the state government to ban such congregations.
The ban, however, was challenged by Shia cleric and separatist organization Ithaad-ul-Muslimeen chief Maulana Abbas Ansari in Srinagar’s High Court. There is a complete ban on the mid-city processions of the 8th and Ashura (10th Muharram) in Srinagar. The authorities, however, allowed small procession at Zadibal, Dalgate and Bagwanpora. Additional troops were deployed at all Shia-majority localities and areas.