SHAFAQNA: Indian police fired shotgun pellets and tear gas to stop Shia Muslims from holding mourning rituals to mark the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH). Jafar Ali, a witness, told AFP news agency the mourning procession started in the Bemina area on the outskirts of the main city of Srinagar and that government forces were present in heavy numbers. “The forces fired pellets at the procession that was mainly peaceful and included women,” said another witness Iqbal Ahmad.
At least 40 people were injured, according to witnesses. Medical workers at a hospital in Srinagar told The Associated Press they treated at least 30 people, some of them with pellet and tear gas injuries. Residents said many other injured were taken to another hospital in the city. “It was a peaceful procession and there was no provocation. We were just moving ahead when the police hit us first with tear gas smoke shells and then pellets,” said Suhail Abbas (19), who received 40 pellets in his face, neck and arms, AlJazeera reported.
“I underwent a surgery in the morning and doctors have told me that a burst vein in my eye has to heal first before I can have further surgeries,” said Abbas, who is being treated at the SMHS, ThePrint told. Officials said at least 200 people were detained in Srinagar this week for participating in Muharram processions. Such measures are particularly galling to Kashmiri Muslims. They have long complained that the government curbs their religious freedom on the pretext of law and order, according to AP.