Srinagar: Former minister Aga Ruhullah Mehdi on Sunday questioned the decision of the administration to lift over three-decade old ban on Muharram processions in Srinagar when activities of all religions, including Friday prayers and annual Amarnath yatra, remained suspended.
Reacting to the administration decision to allow 8th and 10th Muharram processions in Srinagar after more than 30 year, Aga Ruhullah, a three time legislator from Shia dominated Budgam on National Conference (NC) ticket, said ‘there is list of decisions-taken in circulation, in which, if my reading of this order is correct, the administration has decided to allow the 10th Moharram procession from Abiguzar to Lal Chowk (a temporary & alternate route proposed in 2018) after a gap of 30 years’.
“This decision has come at the time when the administration has called off Amarnath yatra. Eid prayers this year were not allowed at Jama Masjid and other important places imposing the Disaster Management Act,” he wrote in a series of tweets.
He said only few days ago the IGP Kashmir told people to celebrate Eid “at their homes” invoking Covid protocols. “The Friday prayers at Jama Masjid have not been allowed for the last more than 100 Fridays & continue to be banned, again invoking Covid 19 protocols. The list goes on,” he said.
Mr Ruhullah said given the fact that all other major religious gatherings (with no exception to any particular religion) continue to be banned this sudden isolated decision about 10th Moharram procession from Abiguzar to Lal Chowk, after a gap of 30 years, raises more questions than it answers.
“To answer those questions and to make it clear that there are no nefarious designs behind this decision, this 10th Muharram procession should be preceded by Friday prayers at Jama Masjid before this 10th Muharram. Friday prayers before this year’s 10th Muharram should precede. If the Friday prayers and other major religious functions (across all religions) continue to be banned and this particular procession suddenly encouraged in isolation. In that case, I see nefarious designs behind it. The people should not fall for this bait and into this trap,” he wrote.
Therefore, he said the responsibility lies with the administration to come clean. “Now that the time for Eid prayer this year has passed. Lift the ban on Friday prayers at Jama Masjid too, like you suddenly took this decision and prove that there are no nefarious designs,” he added.
The annual yatra to holy Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas was cancelled for the second successive year in 2021 in view of COVID-19 pandemic while no prayers have been offered in historic Jamia Masjid since April this year.