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Muharram processions in Kashmir disbanded, mourners arrested

SRINAGAR: Authorities have tightened a month-long security lockdown in occupied Kashmir’s city of Srinagar after breaking up processions led by Shias who defied the curfew.

A military crackdown had taken place on the disputed Himalayan region on Aug 5 to prevent another crisis in the valley, as New Delhi has stripped Kashmir off its autonomous status. 

The residents are still unable to communicate with the rest of the world. The security forces have been patrolling around the city and using loudspeakers to warn the residents no to venture out of their houses.

Shias hold processions and rallies across the world during Muharram. Such processions are now banned in occupied Kashmir on the pretext of using inflammatory language against the State. 

Correspondents saw at least two small protests on Sunday morning but the Shia protesters were quickly arrested and whisked away in police vehicles. Policemen were also seen charging baton over the mourners.

Occupied Kashmir has seen a decades-old armed campaign against Indian rule with tens of thousands, mostly civilians, losing their lives. On Saturday, four local journalists were injured while covering a protest involving up to 5,000 protestors, one of the biggest rallies since the lockdown was imposed last month.

One journalist said his camera lens was broken and another had visible marks on his body after he was allegedly hit with bamboo sticks by security personnel. Security forces also fired tear gas and live ammunition in the air. Authorities had in recent days eased some restrictions in parts of Srinagar but began to toughen them again from Friday.

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