Hyderabad: Hundreds of people joined the annual Muharram procession on Sunday in Hyderabad amid the COVID-19 pandemic in defiance of a court order. A large number of devotees were seen walking with the historic ‘Bibi Ka Alam’ procession in the old quarters of the city, with no visible social distancing. Many participants were seen without masks.

The procession took place despite the Telangana High court order rejecting permission to a Muharram procession in Hyderabad. The Supreme Cout had also rejected a similar petition last week.

For the first time in history, the ‘Bibi Ka Alam’ procession was taken out on a van instead of an a caparisoned elephant leading it.

The procession started from the Dabeerpura and passed via Charminar-Gulzar Houz-Purani Havel-Darulshifa before finally ending at Chaderghat.

The procession takes place every year in the first month of the Islamic calendar on the 10th day of Muharram, known as Ashura. Like many other religious occasions this year, this also took place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, the Supreme Court had refused permission for Muharram processions in the country. The court had said it would lead to chaos and “one particular community will be targeted” for spreading the coronavirus.

“If we allow this procession across the country there will be chaos and one particular community will be targeted for spreading the pandemic COVID-19,” Chief Justice SA Bobde said while hearing a plea seeking permission for a procession in Lucknow.

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