On 29th August, several media houses reported that Jammu Kashmir police had fired pellets and tear gas shells at a Muharram procession in Jammu and Kashmir. An Al Jazeera report said that security forces clashed with the Shia Muslim participants in the Muharram tazia procession in Bemina area in Srinagar, and several civilians were injured. But the report only tells the half-truth, as it does not mention the injuries sustained by police personnel.
The Al Jazeera report does not mention how the clash between the mourners and the police force started, and it gives an impression that police attacked the processions indiscriminately. The report also quotes one person saying that “the procession was not just peaceful but was also following health protocols,” ignoring the fact that the procession as unauthorised as admin had not given permission for the same.
Social media was also full with posts claiming that police had fired pellets and tear gas shells at peaceful mourners.
But Contrary to the claims, the clash had started because the mourners refused police orders and they had attacked the police force doing their duties. Several policemen were injured in the attack by the mourners, after which the police were forced to use pellets and tear gas to disperse the violent mob.
Here are few photos of policemen injured in the mob attack during Muharram Tazia processions in the union territory. The photographs clearly show that the policemen were attacked by pelting stones.
Due to the Coronavirus, the Muharram processions have been banned across the country by the Supreme Court of India. The Jammu and Kashmir administration had also imposed strict restriction on processions, and only few processions were allowed with advance permission.
The procession where the clashes broke out, which had started from Bemina in Srinagar, was not authorised. When the procession reached Bemina Chowk, the police forces had tried to convince the mourners to end the procession and return, but they didn’t agree. This led to a confrontation between the mourners and police force. Soon, the mourners started attacking the police force pelting stones, after which the police had to retaliate by firing pellets and tear gas.
Therefore, the media report was once again a lie in an attempt by international media to paint the Indian security forces as a villain while hiding the violence by Muslims in the Kashmir valley.