Srinagar, Nov 2: Restrictions have been imposed on the movement of people in the nerve centres of Srinagar city to prevent Shiites (constituting less than 10 % of Kashmiri population) from taking out religious rallies to mourn the death of Imam Hussain, grandson of Islamic prophet, on the eighth day of Muharram – first month of Islamic calendar.
The police were following the traditional orders issued on the occasion since the onset of militancy in late eighties when the processions were banned in the civil lines areas of the Srinagar city as the authorities feared that the religious rallies might turn into freedom protests.
Strict prohibitory orders under section 144 were imposed in the areas falling under Shaheed Gunj, Batamaloo, Shergarhi, Karan Nagar, Maisuma, Ram Munshi Bagh, Kothi Bagh, Kralkhud and Parimpora police stations of the city. Women were seen pleading before the government forces to let them reach their homes, while patients faced hardships while travelling to hospitals.
A large contingent of police and paramilitary troopers were deployed at major intersections in the city barricaded with rolls of concertina wires.
In many areas of the city, police used force to stop mourners to take out the rallies.
The militancy has waned in the valley with security agencies estimating the number of guerillas at less than a hundred. The number of violent incidents involving the forces and militants has come down heavily, still the demands of Shiites that they be allowed to practice their religious by taking out religious rallies are being turned down.
While the authorities say that the restrictions are being placed to maintain law and order, religious minorities in the valley accuse the former of curbing their religious rights.