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Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits Bond Together in Brotherhood

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By Shabir Ahmad
While Kishtwar district continued to reel under curfew and communal violence last month, Muslims in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district have set an example of communal brotherhood by arranging the marriage ceremony of a Pandit girl. On the wedding ceremony of the daughter of Omkar Nath Raina of Seer Hamdan, Mattan, it was the local Muslims who made all the arrangements, giving the signal that the Valley’s social fabric is very much intact. Raina’s family, due to poor financial conditions had decided to stay back after most of the Kashmiri Pandits migrated to Jammu and other parts of the country in the 1990s, following the eruption of armed struggle in the Valley. From decorating the house of the Pandit bride to receiving the Baraat, it was the local Muslims who could be seen doing it all.
The communal harmony was at its best when the Muslim women thronged the house of the Pandit and sang traditional Kashmiri songs when the Baraat arrived. “It was really communal brotherhood at display to see the Muslim men making arrangements and women singing songs to welcome the bridegroom,” said Mudasir Qadri, a reporter with ETV Urdu.
Expressing joy over the brotherhood that the local Muslims displayed, father of the bride, Omkar Nath Raina, said, “The local Muslim brethren arranged everything for my daughter’s marriage ceremony. They did it as if it was the wedding of their own daughter. I am very thankful to them”. He said that Muslims of the village, since the migration of other Pandit families from the village have supported them in every possible way. Santosh, mother of the bride, said, “The local Muslim women welcomed the Baraat of my daughter by singing Kashmiri songs. It was something that filled my heart with joy. I am short of words to praise and thank them.”
Peer Manzoor, a local, said that they have and will always treat the Pandits who stayed in the village as their own family members. “Before the migration of the Pandits, we had been living in harmony and still believe in it. What we did on the wedding ceremony of our Pandit sister today is answer to those elements who are hell bent on disturbing the communal harmony in Kishtwar,” he said.