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Muharram in Srinagar marred by violence

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OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT   |   Published 29.12.09, 12:00 AM

Srinagar, Dec. 28: Violence marred Muharram in Kashmir where police baton-charged mourners in Srinagar who assembled without permission and used tear gas in the old city area to disperse “anti-social” elements.

The police said at least one lakh people participated in the main Ashura procession at Zadibal in Srinagar’s old city area. The Ashura marks the end of the 10-day Muharram mourning.

In Srinagar’s Lal Chowk, police quelled a group of Shia mourners who tried to take out a procession in the city centre without permission. The mourners clashed with the police who chased them with lathis and detained some youths for violating the ban on taking out a procession at Lal Chowk. Several people were injured.

Before militancy gripped the state, Srinagar’s main Ashura procession would start from Lal Chowk. Now, such processions are banned there for security reasons.

The police had made elaborate arrangements in preventing sectarian clashes at several places in the old city area, but they had to throw tear gas shells to disperse a group of “anti-social” elements, probably Sunni youths, at Gojwara and Bohri Kadal.

Police sources said the youths tried to disrupt the Muharram processions in the old city area by throwing stones, some of them targeting the police contingent posted there.

Several big processions, though, marched peacefully. The processions in Leh and Kargil, too, were peaceful.

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