Rouhollah Husseinian
Boycotting the Norouz Festivities

IRDC.IR: In 1962, remaining tiny bonds of propinquity and relationship between the regime and the clerical institution was unwoven. From one hand, the Shah was determined to suppress the clerics. It was quite clear in his speeches. On the other hand, the leadership of the movement was trying to prepare the students of seminary schools to stand against the regime. In 1962, it was crystal clear that the regime is determined to carry out its decisions. Before 1962, clerics played a passive role in political developments and adopted their stance after the regime’s initiatives. After 1962, however, the leadership of the movement decided to adopt a rather active role in the country’s political developments through its own initiatives in the campaign against the regime.

Up to the early 1963, people and the clerical institution had acknowledged Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA)’s leadership in the movement. Everybody was waiting to see what decisions would be adopted by Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA). In such circumstance, Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA) adopted a new initiative which left the regime in total passivity.

He boycotted the Norouz festivities of that year as a result of which the Qom xe "g:Qom Seminary School"Seminary xe "p:Qom"School and all religious forces were invited to stand against the regime. Referring to the upcoming Norouz, Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA) pointed out "I should announce this Norouz as a mourning period for the Moslem society in order to caution Moslems of threats that are endangering the xe "m:Holy Quran"Holy Quran and the country.” Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA)’s initiative was warmly appreciated by the Shiite Marjaeyat, the Olama, clerics, and Islamic factions. Upon starting the Norouz, leading religious authorities held mourning ceremonies and expressed their support of Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA)’s initiative. The most active support came from high-ranking clerics of Tehran. Issuing a statement, they pointed out that the Society of Combatant Clericsxe "p:Tehran" is mournful and does not observe the Norouz formalities. This statement was signed by 46 clerics in Tehran, including xe "a:Tonekaboni(Ayatollah )"Ayatollah Tonekaboni and xe "a:Amoli(Ayatollah )"Ayatollah Amoli. In addition, the most xe "p:Tehran"thoroughly organized Islamic group, i.e. the Islamic Coalition Society, issued a statement and expressed its support of Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA)’s initiative. The statements issued by the Marjaeyat, the Olama, and clerics were distributed throughout the country. Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA)’s measure to resist against the regime angered the authorities. The regime decided to take a bloody revenge against clerics and they did it.

Tragedy of the Qom xe "g:Qom Seminary School"Seminary xe "p:Qom"School

The regime was greatly infuriated of boycotting the Norouz festivities by the people and, as it was predicted, decided to punish the clerics in a show of force. The second day of Norouz (March 22nd) was concurrent with the martyrdom anniversary of xe "a:Imam Sadegh"Imam Sadegh (PBUH). This occasion intensified the mourning ceremonies of the faithful Iranians. Religious forces intended to expose the regime’s brutalities through holding religious mourning ceremonies. xe "a:Pakravan(General )"xe "a:Pakravan(General )"General Pakravan, head of the xe "g:SAVAK"SAVAK, sent a telegram to security organizations throughout the country and cautioned "It is possible that in Friday (March 22nd), which is concurrent with the martyrdom of xe "a:Imam Sadegh"Imam Sadegh, some preachers in your xe "g:SAVAK"SAVAK district embark on issues contrary to the interests of the nation and create chaos and public disorder.” He urged xe "g:SAVAK"SAVAK headquarters in different provinces "to cooperate with local law enforcement forces and thwart the plots of provocative preachers who preach in mosques.” He also ordered local xe "g:SAVAK"SAVAK headquarters to "disturb such preaching ceremonies through uttering Salawats to xe "a:Prophet Mohammad"Prophet Mohammad and his household.” The xe "g:SAVAK"SAVAK also dispatched another report to the Shah. The Shah ordered the xe "g:SAVAK"SAVAK to react as forcefully as possible. As a result, xe "a:Molavi(Colonel )"Colonel Molavi, chief of the Tehran xe "g:SAVAK"SAVAK, and his forces were dispatched to Qom in order to xe "p:Qom"suppress xe "p:Tehran"opposition forces there. The security and military forces were afterwards dispatched to Qom. Early in xe "p:Qom"the morning, there was an escalated tension in the city. The city seemed greatly disturbed by the presence of newly arrived security and law-enforcement forces. Everybody expected to witness a tragedy in Qom. Three xe "p:Qom"important sessions had been scheduled for that day. These sessions were supposed to be held in Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA)’s house, the Hojjatieh School, and the xe "p:Feyzieh"Feyzieh School. A great number of people participated in the session in Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA)’s house. People were gathered in the house and nearby streets. The session started with a speech delivered by one of the preachers. However, it was quite clear that there were some individuals in the session who intended to disturb the gathering. Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA) realized that there was an organized plot to disturb the session. Therefore, he commissioned xe "a:Khalkhali(Mr. )"Mr. Khalkhali to announce that if disturbing elements did not stop their trouble-making behavior, "I will move towards the Qom xe "g:Qom Seminary School"Seminary xe "p:Qom"School and deliver my speech there.” The xe "g:SAVAK"SAVAK agents were silenced afterwards and the session continued without any further difficulty.

The xe "g:SAVAK"SAVAK agents created similar disturbances in the session in the Hojjatieh School at the presence of xe "a:Shariatmadari(Ayatollah )"Ayatollah Shariatmadari.

That day, the third session was held in the Qom xe "g:Qom Seminary School"Seminary xe "p:Qom"School (the xe "p:Feyzieh"Feyzieh School). It was held by xe "a:Golpayegani(Ayatollah )"Ayatollah Golpayegani. Some 300 men, aged between 30 and 40, with similar attires were present in the session. When xe "a:Ansari(Mr. )"Mr. Hajj xe "a:Ansari"Ansari was preaching to the congregation, one of these men tried to seize the microphone and disturb the session. However, xe "a:Ansari(Mr. )"Mr. Hajj xe "a:Ansari"Ansari refused to submit the microphone. The abovementioned men chanted "Long Live the Shah!” and the session were disturbed. Then, there were clashes between people and security forces.

The people were dispersed and seminary students had to take refuge in their dormitories. However, security forces took seminary students out of their dormitories and hit them cruelly. Students were crying "Ya Hussein” and "Ya Mohammad” and their injured bodies were scattered over the ground.

As a result of the attack of security forces to the Qom xe "g:Qom Seminary School"Seminary xe "p:Qom"School, dozens of people were injured and, as the regime had claimed, one person was killed, too. According to a statement issued by students of the Qom xe "g:Qom Seminary School"Seminary xe "p:Qom"School, "several students were injured so seriously that they died later on.” At that moment, there was a religious ceremony in Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA)’s house. People who were participating in this ceremony were gradually informed of the tragic event in the Qom xe "g:Qom Seminary School"Seminary xe "p:Qom"School. Everybody was worried. The injured people were gradually transferred to Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA)’s house. The population was increasingly swarming in. They were receiving more news of the tragedy in the Qom xe "g:Qom Seminary School"Seminary xe "p:Qom"School. A disappointing and appalling atmosphere was prevalent among the people and everything seemed dark and bleak to them. In such a critical situation, Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA) delivered a speech. In order to revive hopefulness and optimism among the disappointed people, Imam xe "a:Imam Khomeini"Khomeini (RA) observed:

"Through committing such a criminal act, the ruling system’s brutal nature was plainly exposed. Such a tyrant ruling establishment is doomed to failure and annihilation. We were the victorious side. We prayed for the Almighty God to have this regime’s brutal nature exposed.”