Hindus, Muslims unite for festival

With reports that the Ganesh Chaturti festival was a possible terror target, people belonging to the Hindu and Muslim communities here have joined hands to revive the festive spirit and instill confidence among the people. Leaders of Anjuman-e-Islam and the Ganesh Mahamandal have already chalked out several plans to celebrate the festival.

More than 1,000 Ganesha pandals are erected across Hubli-Dharwad every year on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturti. Though Hubli is considered a communally sensitive region, no untoward incidents have occurred during the festival. But, the arrest of terror suspects in Bengaluru and Hubli has cast a cloud of suspicion and keep people from visiting the Ganesh pandals. With this in mind, leaders of Anjuman-e-Islam have resolved to visit Ganesha pandals to send message of a peace and communal harmony. Interestingly, the Hubli Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mahamandal has office-bearers from both communities.

“All members of Anjuman-e-Islam will visit around 25-30 Ganesha pandals as a symbolic gesture to create a peaceful atmosphere. We will extend all co-operation and actively involve in the celebrations as the fear of terror attacks is haunting the people”, Anjuman-e-Islam president Jabbar Khan Honnalli said. A majority of fruit vendors, florists, painters, carpenters, pandal suppliers and workers engaged preparation for the festival belong to the Muslim community. Prices of commodities will shoot up during the festival and therefore, they are lending a helping hand by serving as volunteers. They will take part in various cultural programmes and also the processions during installation and immersion of Ganesha idols, he said.

Leaders of both communities are also holding meetings with police officials to chalk out their programmes. “Peace and communal harmony prevailed in Hubli-Dharwad since last two decades after the row over the Idgah Maidan. Now, we will give more thrust to involvement of Muslim leaders in the festival as the arrest of terror suspect has caused a sense of fear among the people”, Hubli Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mahamandal secretary Amaresh Hipparagi said.

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