ISLAMABAD: About 50 people were on Tuesday arrested on the charge of taking out a Muharram procession without the district administration’s permission in G-10 sector, where violence had erupted during a similar gathering last year.
Police officials said four organisers of the procession were arrested on Monday night under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) ordinance on the directives of Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Mushtaq Ahmed.
The arrests were made when it was brought to the notice of the capital administration that a procession would be taken out from a house in G-10 sector which would end at an imambargah in the same locality.
Clashes had erupted between participants of a similar procession and a rival group last year
Earlier, when the organisers approached the capital administration, they were denied permission to take out the procession because during the last three years clashes had erupted between the participants of the procession and their rival group.
The police said the procession - which has been brought out for the last five years - remained peaceful during the first two years.
After the arrest of the organisers, contingents of police were deployed outside the house from where the procession was to be taken out.
Later, the police were informed that people were gathering at the imambargah and might bring out a procession from there.
In order to avoid any untoward incident, more police personnel were sent to the area and deployed on different roads, including Soan Road.
Mourners in the place of worship were asked to avoid taking out the procession as it might cause a security issue in the area.
However, they ignored the direction and about 200 people took out the procession from the imambargah.
When the participants reached Soan Road, the police intercepted them. The participants asked the police to remove the hurdles from the road and then started pelting the offi cers with stones.
In response, the police fired teargas shells and resorted to baton charge to disperse the mourners.
After about two hours, the police arrested about 50 of the participants who were becoming violent and shifted them to the Ramna police station.
Police officers held talks with the other participants and later allowed them to go home in groups of four to five people.
When contacted, an official at the Ramna police station confirmed the arrests and said a case would be registered against them.
On November 14, 2014, clashes erupted between the participants of a similar procession in the area and their rival group. The police had to use force and book scores of people involved in the clashes at the time.
Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2015