Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of people entered the annual Muharram procession in Hyderabad on Sunday in violation of a court order. A large number of devotees were seen walking in the old quarters of the city with no apparent social gap to the historic 'Bibi Ka Alam' procession. Many guests were seen without masks. Despite the Telangana High Court order refusing permission for a Muharram procession at Hyderabad, the procession was conducted. Only last week the Supreme Cout had denied a similar appeal. The 'Bibi Ka Alam' procession was carried out on a bus for the first time in history, instead of being led by a caparisoned elephant.
Starting from the Dabeerpura, the procession passed through Charminar-Gulzar Houz-Purani Havel-Darulshifa before finally ending at Chaderghat. Every year the procession takes place on the 10th day of Muharram, celebrated as Ashura, in the first month of the Islamic calendar. This also took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, like many other religious occasions this year.
The Supreme Court last week denied permission for the country's Muharram processions. The court had said that it will lead to anarchy, and for spreading the coronavirus, "one specific group would be targetted." "If we allow this procession in the world, there will be confusion and a specific group will be targeted to spread the COVID-19 pandemic," said SA Bobde, chief justice, as he heard a plea requesting permission for a procession in Lucknow.