A group of Kashmiri Pandits today held ‘Murti Astapan’ prayers after 25 years at a temple in Srinagar, with a Muslim man helping place the idol.
The temple at Yatri Bhawan in Lal Chowk– the nerve centre of the city– reverberated with the sounds of conch shell and vedic hymns after the idol of Goddess Durga was placed inside after 25 years.
“There was a small idol inside the temple, but we have placed a large ‘murti’ now after 25 years. We bought the idol from Jaipur,” Sharad Khosla, who runs a religious organisation ‘Sanatan Dharam Pratap Sabha’ which organised the puja, told PTI.
He said a ‘havan’ (special prayer) was performed on the occasion and langar (free food) was served.
A Muslim man, Ghulam Qadir, of downtown area of the city — the bastion of moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq — helped his pandit brothers set up the idol at its place in the temple.
“I was working here (on a construction of a building) when they got this idol. It was heavy, so I went up to help them and lent my hand,” Qadir said.
He said the brotherhood between the two communities has been there since ages and it was not lost.
“This (brotherhood) is nothing new. It has been here since ages. The world needs to see that we live peacefully here,” he said.
Khosla said people need to cleanse their minds.
“We believe in brotherhood. There is no love lost between the two communities. Those (who attack people in the name of religion) should cleanse their minds,” he said.