Srinagar Placed Under Tight Lockdown Ahead Of Ashura
SRINAGAR: Indian authorities on Sunday tightened a month-long security lockdown in Srinagar city of occupied Kashmir after breaking up Shia processions taken out in defiance of a ban.
New Delhi revoked Kashmir’s special constitutional autonomy on August 5 after a complete military clampdown and communication blackout was imposed in the disputed region.
Police vehicles drove around different neighbourhoods from early morning, announcing through loudspeakers that residents should remain confined to their homes.
“Strict action would be taken against violators,” the police had warned.
Many processions are taken out by Shias in the month of Muharram but Indian authorities have banned such gatherings after an armed rebellion broke out against India’s rule in 1989.
At least two small protests were witnessed on Sunday by media correspondents, but the mainly Shia protestors were whisked away by police personnel. Police also attacked the mourners with bamboo sticks.
Other sources informed that at least six more similar protests had also taken place where police detained many participants.
According to locals, Muharram processions have turned political this year after India revoked Kashmir’s special autonomy status.
On Saturday, four local journalists were injured while covering a protest of around 5,000 demonstrators. It was one of the biggest rallies held in the month-long curfew imposed by New Delhi.
Cameras and other equipment belonging to journalists were also destroyed by the security forces. Tear gas and live ammunition was also used by the police with impunity.
Recently, Indian authorities had relaxed some restrictions in the valley but tightened them again from Friday onwards.
According to reports, this is one of tightest curfew imposed since August 5, with up to 10 security personnel now manning a single barricade instead of the previous number of three.
It is expected that heightened tensions would be witnessed on Tuesday, the day of Ashura processions.
This year, Shias would be joined by Sunnis living in the occupied valley to show solidarity with their fellow Muslims in the face of rising Indian atrocities.