A picture of communal harmony

Berhampur: Simanbadi, a panchayat headquarter in Kadhamal district s Daringibadi block shows rare communal harmony while celebrating the Dusshera festival.

Sadhu Nayak, a Christian and the president of the 22-member Durga Puja committee, is busy arranging for day-to-day ritual for the festival, while other members extended their helping hands. He was in Baliguda on Tuesday to seek permission from sub collector to celebrate the Durga Puja.

“We celebrate every festival including Durga Puja, Christmas and Id with the cooperation of each other”, said Sadhu.

There are at least three Muslim families living in the village having over 3000 population. The other families are divided between Hindus and Christians.

Before celebration of the Durga Puja, we invited local heads of all religions including the priest and Father of the church, to attend the preparatory meeting. The practice was being maintained since the beginning of the puja for last three decades , he said.

There is a great deal of bonhomie here among the people from different communities and faiths , he said.

“Although we are not performing any ritual during the Durga Puja, but we enjoy with other, said Munna Khan, a Muslim and another member of the committee.

The Puja committee has planned several entertainment programmes during the period. Besides staging a theater on last day, they also planned for folk dances. Immersion will be take place on October 24.

We are making preparation together to celebrate Durga Puja , Sukanta Pradhan, sarapanch of the panchayat and a member of the committee, said. The members of the committee are elected, he said.

Claiming their village is a model village to maintain communal harmony, Kali Prasad Sahu, the committee secretary and a Hindu, said they visit the houses of other faiths during their festivals like Christmas and Id.

When the entire district was burning in communal violence in the aftermath of VHP leader Swami Laxmananand Saraswati’s killing on August 23, 2008, Simanbadi however maintained calm, Sadhu claimed.

The violence had claimed 40 lives and rendered over 20,000 homeless in Kandhamal district.

(This appeared in The Statesman on October 22, 2015)

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