J&K Hindu village elects lone Muslim as panch
VILLAGERS SET EXAMPLE OF COMMUNAL HARMONY DURING RURAL POLLS
Srinagar: When the country is reeling through communal hatred, a small village from Jammu and Kashmir set an example of communal harmony! A Hindu-dominated village in Doda unanimously elected the lone Muslim villager as their Panch.
Chowdhary Mohammad Hussain, 54, was elected unopposed as the panch of Bhelan-Kharothi village in the Hanga Panchayat of Baderwah block in the seventh phase of Panchayat polls on December 4.
With a population of 450 people, Chowdhary family is the only Muslim household in the village. When panchayat elections were announced, villagers held a meeting and decided to field Chowdhary as a unanimous candidate of the village for Panch seat.
“I am originally from JoraPunthal, but for the last 15 years I have been putting up here. I bought some land here 15 years ago and have been living here ever since. My family is the only Muslim one living in the village. When elections were announced, they (other villagers) told me to file nomination as unanimous candidate of the village. They (Hindus) have 260 votes and I have only three. I won unopposed from the village,” Chowdhary told DNA.
This village has been the epitome of communal harmony in the state. When Chowdhary’s daughters were getting married, it was his Hindu neighbours who oversaw the arrangements.
For the villagers, Chowdhary’s election is a message of communal harmony.
“Chowdhary has been living with us for the last 15 years and he has proved his mettle as a doer. Since he is the only Muslim here, we felt that he should be our unanimous candidate so that he does not feel alone,” said Duni Chand, a villager who is a Tehsildar of Bela Tehsil.
Voters wait to cast votes in J&K; (inset) Chowdhary Mohammad Hussain