India bans religious processions in Kashmir Valley, 4 journalists injured

Protesters throwing stones in Srinagar, in Indian-controlled Kashmir, on Thursday.Photo Credit Atul Loke for The New York Times

Srinagar, Sep 8: Jammu and Kashmir Police used pellet shotguns and teargas shells to contain the religious processions in Kashmir and also injured a Kashmiri photojournalist who was hit by pellets and three other scribes when Police allegedly attacked them as they covered a Muharram procession in Srinagar’s Hasanabad area on Saturday.

Indian authorities have warned residents “not to venture out of their home” amid a tightening crackdown in the contested region.

Indian policemen detain Kashmiri Shiite Muslims as they shout pro-freedom slogans,who have vowed to resist authorities as they attempt to observe religious traditions

The Jammu and Kashmir authorities on Saturday  banned Muharram processions in Kashmir . On Muharram, Shia Muslims observe the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson that occurred 1,400-years ago in Karbala (modern day Iraq) . Since then Shia Muslims across the world and in Kashmir mourn relentlessly in the first 10 days of new Islamic year that begins with the month of Muharram.

Curfew has been imposed in several parts of Kashmir amid a growing crackdown across the contested territory. “Section 144 of the CrPC is in place in order to avoid any loss to life and property, the government has decided that no procession shall be allowed in district Srinagar on Muharram  on September 8, 9, 10 respectively,” said the government order.

“People are advised to stay indoors and not venture out of their home otherwise Strict action under law will be taken against violators,” police announced over loudspeakers in the Lal Chowk square in Srinagar. “

Government has been justifying the clampdown in Kashmir since August to prevent large scale violent protests

“Reasonable restrictions are necessary for peace and protection of life,” India’s national security adviser Ajit Doval said on Saturday. He said restrictions would not be lifted until Pakistan stopped deploying “terrorists” to the area and accused Islamabad of fomenting unrest.
On August 5, Modi government in India withdrew Kashmir’s special autonomous status by revoking Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The controversial move triggered further unrest in Kashmir.

 Indian government is being criticised for changing inheritance rights for native Kashmiris and over 50,000 security personnel have been deployed since August 3 so as to contain violent protests in the contested region.

Indian government’s move has heightened tensions between India and Pakistan which had already fought three wars since independence from British colonial rule, two of which have centered on the disputed Kashmir region.

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