Hyderabad: The High Court of Telangana on Wednesday made it clear that it cannot give permission to the Muharram procession in the city on 30 August (Sunday). The court delivered the judgement on a petition filed by the Fathima Seva Dal, an organisation involved in the arrangement of the grand procession of Muharram and its rituals in the city.

The petition urged the court to give permission to carry out the procession along with an elephant as it is a customary ritual and informed that all precautionary measures would be followed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The petitioner’s counsel, Panduranga Rao, appealed to the court to issue necessary directions to the Hyderabad city police commissioner, to allow the procession.

The petitioner informed the court that the Bibi-Ka-Alam procession would take place on Sunday from Dabeerpura in the old city of Hyderabad till Chaderghat. They also informed the court that they would transport elephants that will be used in the procession from the neighboring states, at the expense of the organisers and urged the court to pass necessary directions to the state government and the police department.

In response to the plea, the High Court said that the Supreme Court had dismissed a similar petition seeking permission to issue directions on the Muharram procession. In view of the Supreme Court decision, it won’t be correct to issue directions on a similar petition, the High Court told the petitioners.

The High Court also made it clear that all such processions and gatherings would be prohibited keeping in view the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. The High Court further suggested that any such issues related to temples or mosques can be resolved as per the need, but distanced from passing directions in this matter.

Usually thousands of people, including mourners belonging to the Shia community, performing the ‘matam’ ritual, participate in the procession which passes through along a six-km stretch covering different parts of the old city. With more than 2,00,000 Shias, Hyderabad is home to the second-largest Shia community in India, after Lucknow.

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