Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir police on Wednesday fired tear smoke shells on mourners during a Muharram procession in Budgam area resulting in minor injuries to over a dozen persons, eyewitnesses said.
They said that despite following standard operation protocols and maintaining distance the procession that was heading towards Imambara Budgam from Zoorigund area was shelled upon by police, “Everyone was wearing masks and maintaining distance, yet the police resorted to force,” said a mourner from the area.
Another mourner said, “We were walking peacefully while maintaining all the required SOPs, a large contingent of police force was awaiting us at a village called Huroo where they fired shells and lathi-charge without any provocation,” said Hussain, a resident of Budgam who only wished to be identified by his first name.
Another eyewitness said that the police resorted to sectarian slurs and abuse, “Police abused and used slurs.”
Senior Superintendent of Police, Budgam, Amod Nagpure said that it was a violation of COVID protocol. “There were restrictions in place under section 144 of IPC. It was an unruly mob which was violating government orders, we had to disperse it, we will not allow any procession,” he said.
Many people took to their social media handles also to condemn the incident.
Earlier in the day the Jammu and Kashmir police booked Shia Muslim mourners for raising pro-freedom slogans during a Muharram procession on Srinagar outskirts.
In a statement, a police spokesperson said, “On surfacing of a video in social media in which mourners were found chanting pro Azadi slogans in a Jaloos-e-Aza (Mauharram Procession). Police station Parimpora has taken cognizance,”
It has been revealed that some boys from adjoining area of Budgam led by following persons..
(1) Sajad Hussain Parray S/O Mohd Yousuf parray R/O Nawpora Gund Hassi Bhat (2) Arif Ahmad Dar S/O Mohd Akbar Dar Gund Hassi Bhat near J-K Bank 3) Raja Mehboob s/o Mehboob Hussain R/O Gund Hassi Bhat took advantage of the area and assembled here and raised pro Azadi slogans.
“In this regard, a formal case has been regd under FIR No 177/2020 U/S 13 ULA(P) Act ,143,188,269 IPC against the above accused. Midnight raids were conducted in which two persons have been arrested and further arrests are expected in the said case and the investigation is going on,” the statement added.