Shia cleric objects to ban on Muharram rituals

Lucknow, Aug 21 (IANS) Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad has taken strong exception to the blanket ban on all Muharram rituals by the Lucknow Police Commissionerate.
The Maulana, who is the ‘mutawalli’ (caretaker) of Imambara Ghufranmaab in the old city has called the guidelines issued specifically for Muharram ‘unconstitutional and illegal’.
Jawwad has said that he will be holding the ‘majlis’ (sermons) at the Imambara, following Covid-19 protocols, and if the administration wanted, it could arrest him.
The cleric has submitted a written statement to the police commissioner, saying that their order was not just misleading but was also creating unrest in the community.
“It is against the guidelines issued by the WHO, Central and state governments on Covid-19. This new guideline should be repealed immediately since Covid-19 protocols are already in place. At the ‘majlis’ from Friday, the number of people will be limited to 50 along with thermal scanning, sanitisations, social distancing and masks,” Jawwad said.
Jawwad also said that permission to hold majlis inside Imambaras with Covid norms has been given in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and in Kashmir.
Meanwhile, as ‘taziya’ makers set up shop for Muharram which begins on Friday, several clerics including Maulana Kalbe Jawwad and All India Shia Personal Law Board general secretary Maulana Yasoob Abbas have alleged that the police are threatening taziya makers, asking them not to make and sell the taziya.
The taziya is a replica of the tomb of Husain, the martyred grandson of Muhammad, that is carried in processions during Muharram.
These paper taziyas are traditionally kept at homes during Muharram as a replica of Imam Husain’s mausoleum.

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