Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today expressed concern over children participating in the mourning procession during Muharram and asked police to hold meetings with organisers of the ritual to chalk out a course of action.
A division bench of justices R M Savant and Sadhana Jadhav was suo moto (on its own) hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on the issue. In December 2014, the city police had issued a circular on the steps to be taken during the ritual.
According to the circular, senior police officials of the police stations concerned have to hold meetings with mohalla committees prior to Muharram, ensure no children participate in the ritual and no sharp weapons are used and videograph the entire procession.
“We direct the additional commissioner of police (south region) to hold a meeting with major organisers and also the community leaders to chalk out a course of action, seeing to it that no child participates in the procession,” Justice Savant said.
If the organisers and community leaders themselves ensure that no minor participates in the procession, then police monitoring would not be required, the court noted.
“The additional commissioner of police shall hold the meeting and file a report on July 24. We would like to hear and decide this matter before this year’s Muharram procession which is to be held in September,” Justice Savant said.
Muharram marks the anniversary of the battle of Karbala in which Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was killed. To mourn his killing, the participants flagellate themselves with sharp objects.