Hindu village in J& K elects Muslim chief
Wanted to set an example of coexistence: Villagers
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.