Srinagar, Nov 15: Authorities Friday imposed strict curfew and restrictions in most parts of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir to prevent religious procession of Shiite Muslims on occasion of the 10th of Muharram (the first month of Islamic calendar), officials said.
“Curfew was put in place in Khanyar, Nowhatta, Habba Kadal, Safa Kadal and M R Gunj as a precautionary measure in various parts of the city to maintain law and order,” said a senior government official. “We can’t allow people to disrupt peace in the city.”
Hundreds of policemen and paramilitary troopers of India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in full riot gears were deployed in sensitive localities of the city including Lal Chowk ( red square) to enforce restrictions on movement of civilians.The government forces had laid coils of concertina and barricades to restrict movement of vehicular traffic.
At several places other than curfew bound areas restrictions have been put in place to disallow assembly of people.
On Wednesday clashes broke out in the city between Shiite Muslim mourners and government forces after they defied curfew. Around 50 mourners were detained by police during these clashes.
Every year Shia Muslims in the month of Muharram across world mourn the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad. Hussein as per Islamic scholars achieved martyrdom in Iraqi city of Karbala in the year 680.
However, in Indian-controlled Kashmir, authorities have put a ban on Muharram processions in main city after an insurgency against Indian rule broke out in 1989. The officials cite security reasons to disallow the procession and often fear turning of religious procession into pro-freedom and anti-India one.
A separatist movement challenging New Delhi’s rule is going on in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the psyche of majority of Kashmiris.
Officials had also put in place the prohibitory orders under Section 144 (government order) in the city. The order prohibits assembly of more than four persons in public place.
The curfew restrictions have paralyzed business activities and work in the city. (Xinhua)