Several people were injured and nearly 100 arrested on Sunday from different parts of Srinagar, as Shia mourners clashed with police after they failed to take out processions. The authorities had imposed severe restrictions in parts of the city to thwart their attempts.
Clashes broke out in the Jehangir Chowk area when people defied police restrictions and tried to take out a Muharram procession from the Guru Bazar area. Police resorted to cane charging and then burst tear smoke shells to disperse the mob. However, they resisted and it led to clashes.
The processionists also pelted stones at the police and pitched battles continued for some time. The procession was led by Hurriyat leader Masroor Abbas Ansari. He was taken into custody along with dozens of his supporters. Another separatist leader from Hurriyat (Geelani), Nissar Hussain Rather, was also arrested after he tried to lead a procession.
Some of those who were part of the processions said the use of force against mourners was condemnable. “Police has not been allowing us to do our religious duty for 20 years now and it is a direct interference in the religion,” they said adding that over 150 people were taken into custody and over three dozen injured in police action.
However, Senior Superintendent of Police of Srinagar Syed Ashaq Hussain Bukhari said only 70 people were taken into custody as they violated Section 144, which was in force in the city. “They also turned violent and pelted stones at the police. Seven of our men were injured in pelting,” he said.
Police imposed severe restrictions in the Civil Lines and no movement of vehicles or civilians was allowed. Barricades were erected at various places to prevent people from gathering at one place. “This was done to maintain law and order,” he said.
Separatist organisations have condemned the restrictions and the police action against the mourners.