Use of force during Muharram procession in Srinagar against all norms: Omar Abdullah

Police fired tear smoke shells and pellets on the mourners in Srinagar leading to injuries to several of them.

Published: 31st August 2020 07:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st August 2020 07:41 PM   |  A+A-

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah (Photo | PTI)


SRINAGAR: National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Monday condemned the use of force on Shia mourners during an Ashura procession, saying the unprecedented crackdown goes against all norms in a civilised society.

“Our unequivocal condemnation of the completely unwarranted use of force, including pellets, against Muharram mourners. This unprecedented crackdown goes against all norms that a civilised society would expect,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

The NC leader was reacting to the use of force on the Shia mourners in some parts of the city here on Sunday.  Police fired tear smoke shells and pellets on the mourners leading to injuries to several of them.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the NC said showering pellets on Muharram mourners was a "new low".

The party expressed outrage over the “indiscriminate” use of pellet guns on mourners observing Youm-e-Ashura -- the tenth day of the 10-day mourning period -- and condemned subjecting of the mourners to “brute force” by police.

The party termed the action of the police “unwarranted, inhuman and discriminatory”.

“The brutality on mourners in terms of arrests, torture, raining of pellets and baton charging is unacceptable and that the party unequivocally condemns it,” the NC's provincial president, Kashmir, Nasir Aslam Wani said in the statement.

He said denying people to perform their religious activities was “a new low which unfortunately has become a new normal” in J&K.

“The administration was already aware of the forthcoming holy month of Muharram, on that account it was supposed to chalk out a programme with different religious groups, try to bring them onboard to ensure necessary safety measures in view of the prevailing pandemic situation.

Despite the barbarism of police, the mourners didn't indulge in any violent act.

Actions like these are giving a lie to the commitments of the government on zero tolerance for human rights violations,” he said.

Wani said the use of pellet guns, canes and teargas shells on the mourners shows how “unfeeling” the civil administration and local police is.

“The brutality has left several mourners injured, some of whom have incurred fatal injuries on their vital parts. Even journalists and scribes were heckled and baton-charged. Police on their part to contain the processions should have used persuasion, but as a norm, it is not on the priority list of the government vis-à-vis J&K and in particular Kashmir.

“On one hand, the government is claiming everything is normal, why is it then resorting to such inhuman acts, why are people's voices being muzzled? I, on behalf of my party, condemn these brutalities,” he said.

The NC provincial president said the inter-sectarian bonhomie has been a cultural mainstay of Kashmir and that the people of Kashmir have never allowed such divisive forces to break unity.

“We demand thorough action against those elements who are trying to give the incidents a sectarian colour. Such elements should be unmasked, named and shammed. There is no place for such elements in our society. Our party demands a strong action against such mischievous elements,” he said.

Wani also expressed outrage at the alleged heckling of journalists by security forces and police, saying such actions on part of the government present a wrong picture of the country internationally.


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