On the 8th of Muharram, thousands of Shia mourners walked through Srinagar after the Jammu and Kashmir government allowed a Muharram procession for the first time in over three decades.

The decision to permit the procession on the 8th of Muharram has been widely praised and has sparked demands for lifting the ban on the main Ashura procession on the 10th of Muharram.

Ashura processions are significant for Shia Muslims worldwide as they commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the Prophet's grandson, in the Battle of Karbala.

The ban on Muharram processions started in the 1920s, but in 1924, mourners defied the order and marched during the day, joined by Sunnis as well, marking a significant event in the struggle against Dogra rule.

Permits to hold processions were later issued to certain individuals and families, with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah advocating for the main procession to start from Abi Guzar and pass through the old city of Srinagar.

Despite unrest and restrictions, smaller Muharram processions continued in Shia-dominated areas of Srinagar, with mourners led by Abbas Ansari and his son Masroor Abbas defying government orders.

The Ittehadul Muslimeen, a political rival of Iftikar Hussain Ansari, also played a role in the processions, and Sunni mourners joined due to the party's belief in reconciliation.

The ban on the main Muharram procession was imposed during the tenure of Governor Jagmohan and has been maintained by successive governments based on security concerns.

The event holds potential for fostering dialogue, understanding, and inclusivity among different Muslim sects in the region.

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