Agartala: The community Durga puja being organised jointly by Hindu and Muslim believers at Mullapara slum of Abhoynagar – the northern part of the city passed off peacefully that set an example of communal harmony when Ram temple issue rocked the country.
According to the priest of the puja pandal Bikram Chakraborty, Muslims have not only contributed money and helped for puja shopping also, Muslim ladies participated in the everyday preparation of puja and prayer. Around 178 families of both the communities of Hindu and Muslim joined together in the celebration and had lunch together in the pandal on Maha Navami yesterday.
During Covid-19 crisis, the residents of the area and a few shopkeepers in the locality have organised Durga puja this time in a modest way like previous years, said Safikul Alam, a senior citizen of the locality adding that for past 20 years Hindus have been taking the initiative to hold Durga puja while Muslims believers organised Eid celebration and Hindus take part.
Rohiz Mia, a Muslim believer has been heading Durga puja committee at Tular Math of Mullapara for last three years told media that celebrating Durga puja and Eid every year is a step to strengthen communal harmony, as there has been a consistent threat against religious harmony.
“We believe religious practice is an individual choice but celebrating Durga puja or Eid together in the locality is a festival for the society. Joining in Eid party one cannot become Muslim and similarly, celebrating Durga puja cannot become Hindu. It rather strengthens friendship between two communities”, said Kushal Das, a school teacher living in Mullapara.
He said, Durga puja committee this time consists of 31 members, including 18 Muslims and they did not collect any subscription from outside the slum, but raised funds themselves who are mostly rickshaw pullers, city cleaners and small vendors, and through donations from some patrons.