Restrictions in Srinagar city areas to thwart Muharram processions

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STATE TIMES NEWS

SRINAGAR: Authorities on Sunday imposed curfew-like restrictions in parts of the city to prevent members of the Shia community from taking out Muharram processions on the eighth day of the 10-day mourning period, officials said. Authorities had disallowed the procession citing incidents of violence in the past.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Srinagar, Rakesh Balwal, said restrictions on the movement and assembly of people were imposed in eight police station areas of the Srinagar city to maintain law and order.
Restrictions were imposed in jurisdictions of 8 police stations of Srinagar city near the one prohibited route. This was done so as to ensure that law and order situation doesn’t arise, he said.
Officials said security forces personnel were deployed in strength to prevent any untoward incident.
Shops and other business establishments in the areas, where restrictions are in place, were shut, while public transport was off the roads, they said.
District authorities decided that traditional processions related to Muharram on Guru Bazar towards Buchwara and Abi Guzar towards Zadibal routes respectively will not be allowed keeping in view public security and law and order, the officials said.
Citing past incidents of violence, the district magistrate, Srinagar, in an order said law and order and security concern is the top most priority of the government keeping in view the larger public interest and safety of its citizens.
The order said it has been witnessed from past instances and upon analysis of reports and data from different security agencies with regard to incidents which have occurred during Muharram, it is evident that not only there has been breach in peace and law and order, but also there have been sectarian clashes which have resulted in breach of peace and threat to maintenance of law and order and also resulted in damage to public property and injuries to civilians and security forces as well.
The traditional Muharram procession, to mark the eighth day of Muharram mourning period, used to pass through these areas, but have been banned since the eruption of militancy in 1990, as authorities maintain that the gatherings have been used for propagating separatist politics.
Meanwhile, the SSP Srinagar regretted that general public and tourists had to face certain inconvenience, but said this was done for larger public good of ensuring a peaceful day devoid of any scope whatsoever of communal/sectarian clashes or altercation with police/forces .
SSP Balwal said some youth sporadically tried to come out individually at certain places, but they were taken into preventive custody without using any force and without using tear gas etc.
Neither any anti-national slogan nor any communal slogan was heard today. Thus no case was registered today unlike last year’s Muharram, he said.
The SSP said the restrictions of travel in those areas were removed later in the evening. The overall situation remained completely peaceful in Srinagar city, he said.