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Indian soldiers attack Shia mourners in Kashmir

Indian police and paramilitary forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir have attacked a group of Shia Muslims participating in a religious procession marking the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), injuring and arresting a number of people, Press TV reports.

On Sunday, Indian forces used batons and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd in Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar. Several Shia mourners were injured and more than a dozen others arrested.

“Using brute force against peaceful mourners shows what kind of democracy India is. The international community must step in to pressure India to stop interfering in our religious duties,” a Shia mourner, requesting anonymity, told Press TV.

Earlier in the day, the regional government imposed a curfew in Srinagar, situated 648 kilometers (403 miles) north of the Indian capital, New Delhi, placing barricades and strands of barbed wire on streets to prevent Shia Muslims from taking part in the rituals of the lunar month of Muharram.

Since 1989, Muharram processions have been disallowed in Srinagar after a pro-independence uprising started in the Indian-administered Kashmir.

The restrictions and the use of excessive force by police against Shia mourners have drawn widespread condemnations, with religious figures saying the measures are in violation of the most basic human rights.

“It is not the government’s business to impose restrictions on Muharram and our religious functions,” Chairman of All Parties Hurriyet Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told Press TV.

Imam Hussein (PBUH), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and 72 of his loyal companions, were martyred on Ashura in the battle of Karbala against the second Umayyad caliph, Yazid I, in 680 A.D. Imam Hussein (PBUH) was killed after he refused to pledge allegiance to the tyrant ruler.

The mourning services have been in place worldwide since the beginning of Muharram.

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