Aijaz Hussain from Srinagar

From The Washington Post: “Police stop religious gathering in Kashmir

“Police fired tear gas and swung batons to disperse hundreds of Muslims participating in religious processions in the Indian portion of Kashmir on Wednesday. At least six people were injured, police said.

Fearing that anti-India separatists might take control of the gatherings, government forces imposed a curfew in parts of the main city Srinagar and tried to stop the marchers observing the Muslim month of Muharram – one of the most important holy days for Shiite Muslims.

Some marchers retaliated by hurling stones at security forces, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Police detained nearly a dozen people, he said.

Large public gatherings have been banned in Indian-administered Kashmir since the outbreak of an insurgency in 1989 by nearly a dozen groups demanding the Himalayan region’s independence from India, or its merger with neighboring Pakistan.

The insurgency and a subsequent Indian crackdown have killed more than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, since 1989.

For five months this summer, tens of thousands of people held massive anti-India protests in the region. At least 111 – mostly teenage boys and young men – were killed in the clashes with security forces and hundreds more were arrested.

Muharram marks the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein, in the battle of Karbala on Ashura. In predominantly Muslim Kashmir, Sunnis are a majority but they commonly take part in Muharram commemorations.”

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