Almost all were ignoring government health directives in practising religious rituals
The Shia community of the country on Sunday -- observing the holy day of Ashura -- brought out a Tajia procession at Old Dhaka’s Hussaini Dalan defying government health safety guidelines put in place for Covid-19.
On this day in the Hijri year of 61, grandson of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), Hazrat Imam Hussain with his family members and 72 followers, embraced martyrdom at the hands of Yazid’s soldiers in the desert of Karbala to uphold the teachings of the prophet.
Devotees, from morning, started to gather inside Hussaini Dalan on Nazimuddin Road, where they had to enter through disinfectant tunnels set up at the two entry points of the establishment, which were heavily guarded by law enforcement.
Despite wearing a mask being mandatory for entering the Imambara, many people were seen taking them off as soon as they were allowed entry and with the increasing crowd, social distancing became impossible to maintain.
Almost all were ignoring the government issued health directives in carrying out religious rituals, reports Bangla Tribune.
The Tajia procession at the Imambara premises started around 10am as Shia pilgrims began chanting and crying “Hai Hussain, Hai Hussain,” mourning the death of Imam Hussain, but without flagellating and cutting themselves as there is a law enforcement ban on knives and such potential weapons since the Hussaini Dalan militant attack in 2015.
Shia devotees observed the day wearing customary black mourning clothes, with less traditional masks and gloves this time, forced by the ongoing pandemic.
Not only Muslims but followers of other religions also took part in the Tajia procession such as Hira Moni, who is a Hindu.
Hira Moni said: “I am a local of Bongshal. My mother used to come to Hussaini Dalan.
“I have been coming here since I was a kid and now have brought my children as well.”
However, the Shia community expressed dissatisfaction with the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) move to not allow Tajia processions on the main roads of the capital to curb the spread of coronavirus.
78 year old Kazi Md Delwar Hossain said this is the first time he has not seen a Tajia procession out on the main roads, but observed only inside the Imambara.
“My father and grandfather used to attend the procession. I have also been coming here since my childhood.
“No one expected this to be this restricted.”
Nur Mohammad Ibn Lala, who is associated with Hussaini Dalan, said: “The government has given us instructions and we are abiding by them.
“We are following all the directives this year.”
This year’s participation in the procession was less than that of last year because of the limited arrangements driven by Covid-19 health precautions.