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 Updated: October 15, 2015

Lucknow: Shias protest ban on hoardings

By: Nizam Hussain

 

LUCKNOW, India: Defying the ban on putting up religious hoardings on the Bada Imambara stretch, Shia cleric Kalbe Jawwad, joined by youths from the community, led a march Wednesday and put up customary black flags.

The district administration has declared the stretch between Bada and Chhota Imambaras — Azadari Road — as ‘no hoarding zone’. Jawwad contended that the community had been following the practice of puting up religious hoardings during Moharram for the past 100 years but were now being stopped “at the behest of a minister” in Akhilesh Yadav’s cabinet.

Earlier, the march, led by Jawwad, started from Bada Imambara to reach Chhota Imambara with youths putting up customary black flags along the entire stretch. Later, while addressing the youths at Chhota Imambara, Jawwad said, “The state government claims that it will not allow hoardings on its properties. (But) hoardings of political parties and other religions are put up on its (government) lands across the city. Only the Shia community is banned from doing so, that too on our their own Waqf land.”

“This is a direct attack on Shias’ religious freedom. Now even religious hoardings, banners have been banned on the road. The next step will be restricting our religious programmes like Majlis and Matam on the road,” Jawwad said.

He claimed that the road was not a property of LMC but belongs to Hussainabad and Allied Trust (HAT). “It is a waqf property. We will put up our religious hoardings during Moharram and on other occasions. Government cannot stop it,” he claimed. Jawwad, who is also Imam-e-Juma and leads Friday prayer at Asafi Mosque, claimed that the government was eyeing the Shia property, which is already under waqf. “A board mentioning that this road is a waqf property is now missing,” he said. During Mayawati regime, the road was named as Azadari road to mark the religious functions during the month of moharram.

Jawwad also extended his demand to the buildings of Hussainabad Inter College and King George Medical University. “The land was sold illegally to government for setting up a college on condition that it will have a Shia principal and there will be weekly holiday on Friday. Now they plan to construct a parking lot at the college. We will not allow it. In KGMU, several Shia landlords had given donation and I had seen their plaques. Nearly 11 bighas of waqf property is with KGMU. Now, everything is under government control,” he added.


 

 
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