Odisha: Restrictions on Muharram processions lifted after one year

The administration has sought cooperation of Muslim community for peace and harmony
Muharram, also known as Ashura or 'Youm-e-Ashura', marks the beginning of the Islamic New Year. Image used for repreentation.
Muharram, also known as Ashura or 'Youm-e-Ashura', marks the beginning of the Islamic New Year. Image used for repreentation.Photo| Arun K

SAMBALPUR: The district administration has relaxed restrictions on joint processions for Muharram, to be observed on July 17 this year.

At a peace and coordination committee meeting held on Tuesday, the administration decided to allow joint processions and sought cooperation of all members of Muslim community to ensure peace and harmony during the celebrations.

Collector Akshay Sunil Agrawal said, “A discussion was held with the members of all the committees in presence of the district administration officials. The occasion will be observed like previous years. Last year due to an unfortunate incident and the sensitive situation that followed, restrictions were imposed for a year. However, the situation is normal now and the procession can be taken out peacefully. The members have also conveyed their grievances and requirements which will be addressed by the departments concerned.”

Muharram processions originate from different areas of the city and assemble at Golebazar chowk before proceeding towards Peer Baba chowk in a joint procession. Due to violence and arsoning that took place on April 12 and 14 during Hanuman Jayanti last year, celebration of all religious festivals were barred for an year. However, the community was allowed to celebrate Muharram at local level in their respective localities.

The district administration has asked the members of the eight Muharram committees to discuss with the police regarding the route of procession to plan the personnels’ deployment. The members have requested the district administration to ensure repair of roads, drain cleaning, water supply, electricity supply, maintenance of low hanging electric cables before the festival. The Daleipada Muharram Committee has requested government’s support for the occasion.

The district administration has assured water tankers for processions and has asked fire personnel to remain alert. While ambulances will be stationed along the route, all liquor shops will remain closed on the day of the festival.

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