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Hundreds held as Shias take out Azadaari procession

Uneasy calm prevailed in Lucknow on Thursday, when hundreds of Shias including their leader Kalbe Jawaad were arrested as they took out the Azadaari Alam procession, defying curfew orders and a 20-year-old ban.

The police caned the processionists to disperse them, said Lucknow police chief Rajnikant Misra. Thousands of protestors emerging from different lanes of the old city tried to join the main procession which was stopped near Patanala, on the Nakhas road. The Shias continued to court arrest when reports last came in.

The processionists, led by Jawaad, wanted to revive an old custom, marking Hazrat Imam Hussain's Chehallum or the 40th day of mourning, which was banned in 1977.

Tension gripped four areas -- Chowk, Sadatganj, Bazar Khala and Thakurganj -- of the old city, where curfew was clamped on Wednesday night.

Principal Secretary (Home) Harish Chandra Gupta said all senior administrative and police officers were personally supervising the law and order arrangements in the curfew-bound areas. Intensive patrolling by the police, the Provincial Armed Constabulary and paramilitary forces was continuing in these areas, he added.


EARLIER STORY:Muslim sects on warpath; Lucknow tense

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