UP cleric’s last-minute appeal to allow Muharram sermons, processions

Shia cleric Maulana Saif Abbas has said that the Yogi Adityanath government should allow Muharram sermons and ceremonies, given the fact that political gatherings and markets are functional across the state.

With the month of Muharram set to begin on Tuesday and no guidelines issued on holding majlis (religious gathering generally including a sermon) and taking out tazia (replica of Imam Husain’s mausoleum) processions by the state government, the cleric said that tazia-making is linked to economy and employment of several small tazia-makers.

He also claimed that small tazia-makers had been harassed by the police.

“It is unfortunate that the administration and police are harassing tazia-makers in several parts of the state. These people already lost their employment because of Covid and now they are being further traumatised,” he said.

Maulana Saif Abbas, who is president of the Shia Markazi Chand committee, also appealed for permission to take out Muharram processions this year.

“When Chhota Imambara can be used as a vaccination centre and Bara Imambara has also opened to tourists, why are both these shrines not allowed to hold sermons for which they were originally built. Permission should be given under Covid guidelines and protocols,” he said.

He further pointed out that, “Covid norms are not being followed in political gatherings and markets but there is no action being taken on them. Muharram is commemorated by not just Shias but people across faiths.”