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UP Shia clerics up in arms over Muhurram guidelines

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Lucknow, Aug 2, 2021 – Shia clerics are up in arms over the Muharram guidelines issued by the UP police.

Shia clerics will be holding a series of meetings on Monday to decide their future course of action.

The All India Shia Personal Law Board had convened a meeting on Monday evening to discuss the issue.

Shia clerics claim that the UP Police have used objectionable language in the guidelines issued for Muharram.

Terming an internal letter issued by the DGP office to police commissioners and police chiefs for maintaining peace during Muharram as a “charge sheet against the Shia community”, the clerics demanded that the government should immediately withdraw the guidelines.

Maulana Kalbe Noorie, said, “The guidelines are unacceptable as it shows the peace-loving Shias in poor light.”

General Secretary of Majlis-e-Ulama-e-Hind, Maulana Kalbe Jawad, said that communication with the DGP would be possible only when the document is withdrawn.

“The language is condemnable. We have asked Muharram committees to boycott meetings convened by the police and administration,” he said.

President of the Shia Markazi Chand Committee, Maulana Saif Abbas, said that the person who had drafted the document is apparently conspiring to disrupt peace.

The main objection of the cleric to the guidelines is that Muharram has been repeatedly referred to as a ‘festival’ in the circular.

“The DGP should know that Muharram is certainly not a ‘festival’ but a period of mourning. The guidelines show the insensitivity of the state government towards the Muslim community,” Maulana Yasoob Abbas told IANS.

He further said, “The guidelines say that ‘Tabarra is read on behalf of the Shia community. It said that some anti-social elements write this on the backs of animals and fly kites by writing such things which are objectionable to the Sunni community. This is a deliberate attempt to create a divide between Shia and Sunni communities.”

The Shia clerics have appealed to all the Ulama and organisations to boycott the peace meetings at the district and city level if the guidelines are not withdrawn.

The UP Directorate General of Police (DGP), Mukul Goel, in the guidelines issued on Sunday night, ordered that Muharram should be celebrated in the state alongside adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour and by keeping in the mind the restrictions that are in place to tackle the pandemic.

The DGP said that display of any kind of weapon will be disallowed. He has instructed police officials to take preventive action against anti-social elements and keep a watchful eye on social media for fake and provoking content.

The UP DGP also urged his officers to communicate with religious leaders for spreading awareness about Covid-19 and the need to celebrate Muharram indoors.

“All the programs to be held on Muharram should be decided in the meeting of the peace committee,” he said.

He also ordered the deployment of adequate amount of police force in sensitive areas. The DGP instructed, “Adequate number of police PAC force reserves should be kept in every district.”

Uttar Pradesh’s decision to not allow religious processions during Muharram comes after the Yogi Adityanath government had banned the Kanwar Yatra earlier this month due to the raging Covid-19 pandemic.  (Agency)

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