By Imran Khan
Sitamarhi (Bihar): While violence over the expansion of a Hindu temple near Charminar in Muslim-dominated Hyderabad’s Old City is hogging media attention, in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district, Muslims quietly helped Hindus construct a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, ahead of the Chhath festival.
“Muslims are not only donating money for the construction, they are also actively involved in ensuring that it should come up soon,” says Rajkishore Raut, president of the Shiva Temple Construction Committee. Raut, a school teacher, said the construction of the temple was a fine example of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood. Mohammad Sadre Alam Khan, a villager, said that dozens of Muslims, including village head, Akbari Khatoon, have contributed in one way or another for the construction of the temple. Sitamarhi town, which had a history of communal conflict, witnessed riots in the mid-1990s. Muslims comprise around 16 percent of the 105 million people of Bihar. Just months ago, Muslims observing Ramadan helped in the construction of a Jain temple in Bhagalpur town in the state. Earlier this year, some Muslims had helped in building a Hindu temple dedicated to goddess Durga in Bihar’s Gaya district.