Molvi Imran Raza Ansari, the president of the All Jammu and Kashmir Shia Association, walked out from a high-level meeting that was arranged by Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir at the secretariat.
A spokesperson, according to a statement issued to CNI, said that the administration’s failure to make adequate preparations for the observance of Muharram and the divisive choice to lift the ban on processions for the 8th and 10th of Muharram after an unprecedented 32 years, while only allowing 100 people to participate, were the causes of the exit.
The meeting, which was meant to address the forthcoming holy celebration of Muharram, reportedly descended into a furious argument as President Ansari voiced his profound disappointment over the administration’s neglect of Shia Community’s Spiritual and Cultural Sensitivities.
He emphasized that the lack of arrangements for Muharram, one of the most significant occasions in the Shia calendar, was an affront to the religious freedom and rights of the community.
For years, the Shia community in Jammu and Kashmir has felt marginalized and ignored during the observance of Muharram. This year’s decision to lift the ban on processions is a welcome step, but restricting the number of participants to 100 people is simply unacceptable.
Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar, holds great significance for the Shia community. It is a time of mourning and remembrance, particularly during the first ten days when they commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.
Processions and gatherings are an essential part of the mourning rituals, where thousands of devotees typically come together to pay their respects.
The ban on processions during Muharram had been a contentious issue for over three decades, leading to frustration and resentment among the Shia community. While the recent decision to lift the ban was initially seen as a positive step towards religious inclusivity, the restriction on the number of attendees dampened the enthusiasm and left many members feeling unheard.
Ansari emphasized that safeguarding the rights and liberties of all citizens, irrespective of their religious beliefs, is paramount for maintaining harmony and peace in the region and to ensure the unhindered observance of Muharram.(CNI)