India

UP bans Muharram processions, clerics oppose

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New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh police have said religious processions during Muharram will not be allowed in the state this year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, the UP Directorate General of Police (DGP), Mukul Goel released a new set of guidelines for the state. The guidelines stated that Muharram should be observed with COVID appropriate behavior.

The DGP said Muharram observers should keep in mind all COVID protocols and practice social distancing.

The DGP has also asked the commissioners to keep a close watch on ‘anti-social elements’ during the 10-day mourning period starting from August 10. The DGP also informed that during Muharram, displays of any kind of weapon will be disallowed.

Meanwhile, Shia clerics are up in arms over the Muharram guidelines issued by the UP police and will be holding a series of meetings to decide their future course of action.

The All India Shia Personal Law Board had convened a meeting on Monday evening to discuss the issue. Shia clerics claim that the UP Police have used objectionable language in the guidelines issued for Muharram.

Terming an internal letter issued by the DGP office to police commissioners and police chiefs for maintaining peace during Muharram as a “charge sheet against the Shia community”, the clerics demanded that the government should immediately withdraw the guidelines.

General Secretary of Majlis-e-Ulama-e-Hind, Maulana Kalbe Jawad, said that communication with the DGP would be possible only when the document is withdrawn.

“The language is condemnable. We have asked Muharram committees to boycott meetings convened by the police and administration,” he said.

President of the Shia Markazi Chand Committee, Maulana Saif Abbas, said that the person who had drafted the document is apparently conspiring to disrupt peace.

 

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