Hindu vil­lage in J& K elects Mus­lim chief

Wanted to set an ex­am­ple of co­ex­is­tence: Vil­lagers

The Asian Age - - Nation -

Bhader­wah ( J- K), Dec. 8: Set­ting an ex­am­ple of com­mu­nal har­mony and broth­er­hood, a Hin­du­ma­jor­ity vil­lage in Bhader­wah town of Jammu and Kash­mir elected un­op­posed the head of its only Mus­lim fam­ily as their Panch in the on­go­ing nine- phased Pan­chayat polls.

Chowd­hary Mo­ham­mad Hus­sain ( 54), a Gu­j­jar from a fam­ily of cat­tle rear­ers, has be­come the Panch of Bhe­lan- Kharothi vil­lage of Hanga Pan­chayat.

In­ci­den­tally, Hus­sain’s is the only Mus­lim fam­ily in the 450- odd res­i­dents of the vil­lage. He is liv­ing with his wife, five sons and a daugh­ter- in- law and has mar­ried off all his four daugh­ters.

“This may seem bizarre in a po­larised and com­mu­nally driven so­ci­ety to­day, but we take pride in our shared broth­er­hood,” a lo­cal res­i­dent, Duni Chand ( 57), told PTI.

He said Hus­sain was the unan­i­mous choice of his com­mu­nity which wanted to set a prece­dent for har­mo­nious co­ex­is­tence and es­pouse broth­er­hood which is the strength of the coun­try.

“The nar­ra­tive of po­lar­i­sa­tion and divi­sion in the name of re­li­gion has not taken away our be­lief that we are part of the same fam­ily. If it has not de­stroyed our co­he­sion over the pe­riod, it won’t now,” Chand said. He said the res­i­dents re­posed their faith in Hus­sain with a twin ob­jec­tive to spread a mes­sage to the coun­try and re­as­sure him that the peo­ple of the vil­lage are with him.

“No doubt Hus­sain is ca­pa­ble of han­dling vil­lage is­sues, but we chose him to set an ex­am­ple,” he said.

◗ Chowd­hary Mo­ham­mad Hus­sain ( 54), a Gu­j­jar, has be­come Panch of Bhe­lan- Kharothi. ◗ Hus­sain’s is the only Mus­lim fam­ily in the 450- odd res­i­dents of vil­lage.

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