Muslims celebrate Hindu festival
Mar 28, 2007 - 1:49:42 PM

Bhadrak -, March 28 - Hundreds of Muslims have celebrated Ram Navami- a Hindu festival marking the birth of Lord Ram - in a riot-prone Orissa town.

Muslim residents of Bhadrak town, 160 km from Bhubaneswar, came out of their homes to greet a Hindu procession Tuesday, a police official said. Many joined hands with the organisers to ensure that the festival went off smoothly.

The three-day festival began Sunday. Over 2,000 women marched to fetch water from river Salandi to the venue of a grand fire ritual.

Later Tuesday, over 10,000 Ram devotees also marched down the town's main thoroughfare. Muslims greeted them. A senior Muslim citizen was present in all Muslim colonies to receive the Ram devotees, the police officer said.

Muslim residents also offered flowers as well as water, curd and other drinks to the participants, a local resident, S.K. Kalim, told IANS.

'Our aim is to keep harmonious relationship between the two communities,' he said. 'The Hindus are with us when we observe Id and Moharram,' added Jamat president Abdul Bari.

Hindu Maheswar Das said: 'Muslims help us in many ways. Besides helping to maintain peace, they even extend financial help to many puja pandals -.'

Of Bhadrak town's 200,000-plus population, 70 percent are Muslims.

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