Jammu & Kashmir Ittihadul Muslimeen Moves to Court
Ban on Muharram procession
Violation of international law
Srinagar, Jan 16: The High Court today issued notice
to the State government seeking its objections on a petition filed by Itihad-ul-Muslimeem (JKIM) president Maulana Masroor
Abbas Ansari which has described the ban on Muharram processions in Srinagar by J&K government as violation of international law and asked the High Court to quash the ban.
The single bench
of Justice Muhammad Yaqoob Mir issued notice to the Financial Commissioner Home, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and District
Magistrate Srinagar to file objections to the petition within two weeks.
The Government has already imposed ban
on carrying out Muharram procession on 8th and 10th Muharram. Despite several requests by the petitioners the State Government
has not communicated the ban order to them. The petition has sought quashing of the ban terming it as violation of international
law and denial of religious rights.
The petitioners through their Counsel Riyaz Ahmad Khawar submitted before the Court
that the Shias were taking two processions. One would start from Namchbal and conclude at Imambada Zadibal and other would
start from Alamgari Bazar and conclude at Khushalsar. But since 1977 at the request of the then Chief Minister Sheikh Muhammad
Abdullah, Shias agreed to take out procession of zul janah unitedly from Abi Guzar to Zadibal.
However in 1989 the then
Governor imposed ban on taking out these two processions and the ban is still on, the petition said.
The petition said
that the religious processions were being taken in the valley since 1527 when Sultan Muhammad Shah was king. The Itehadu-ul-Muslimeen
has been seeking permission for taking out the procession on the eve of Ashura from the District Magistrate Srinagar and the
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir. Both the officials have granted permission in the past, but when the people were taking
procession the respondent State used brute force to crush it, the petition said.
The petition reads that the petitioners
have a constitutional and legal right to profess their faith and religion and the State is bound to facilitate the religious
practices of its citizens. The petition said that the action of the State is violation of the constitution and law and amounts
to religious interference. The petitioner’s counsel argued that the freedom of religion is even guaranteed by the international
law and declaration on elimination of all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on the religion or beliefs. Thus,
he argued, action of the respondent State is flagrant violation of international law and the domestic law as respondents are
consistently and constantly restraining the petitioners. “It is denial of religious freedom.”