Iran expresses concern over attack on Ashura mourners in Kashmir

August 31, 2020 - 21:39

TEHRAN - Saeed Khatibzadeh, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, voiced concerns on Monday over Indian security forces’ attack on a Muharram procession in the Indian-administered Kashmir.

“While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has paid tribute to Aba Abdullah [Imam Hussein (AS)] and mourning ceremonies for Imam Hussein have been held quietly across India, reports of Ashura mourners being injured in Kashmir are very worrying,” Khatibzadeh told the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) on Monday.

The spokesman also called on the Indian government to investigate the Ashura attack and to provide medical assistance to the injured immediately.

On Saturday, Indian security forces, armed with pump-action shotguns, fired shotgun pellets and tear gas on the Muharram procession in parts of the main city of Srinagar, Kashmir. Local authorities took measures ahead of Ashura to prevent Kashmiri Shiite Muslims from holding mourning ceremonies on the occasion of Ashura, the 10th day of the lunar month of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. Ashura marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), a grandson of the Prophet Mohammad who was martyred in the Battle of Karbala on October 10, 680 (Muharram 10, 61 AH).

Indian police crackdown on the Ashura procession left more than 40 people injured. Images and Videos circulating on social media showed many young people suffering severe injuries to their faces and backs. Many of them had pellets stuck in their eyes and other parts of their bodies.

Indian authorities said the Muharram procession violated coronavirus-related restrictions imposed by the local government, a claim strongly rejected by the mourners and witnesses.

“The procession was not just peaceful but was also following health protocols,” said Sajjad Hussain, a witness. “They [government forces] unleashed such violence and did not spare even women mourners.”

Muharram is among the holiest months among Muslims around the world. During the first 10 days of the month, Millions of mainly Shiite Muslims hold mourning processions to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS). The mourners usually beat their chests while reciting elegies that glorify the heartbreaking martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson.