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HindustanTimes Sat,26 Jul 2014

Youth in UP bridging harmony

Rohit K Singh , Hindustan Times  Lucknow, October 02, 2013
First Published: 09:27 IST(2/10/2013) | Last Updated: 09:34 IST(2/10/2013)

Drawing inspiration from Shia and Sunni youths, more and more people, even Hindus, are doing their bit as police mitras to spread the message of peace in Old City. They have joined the initiative, as they too face problems every time sectarian clashes hit the sensitive areas of the city.

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“Many localities in Old City have a mixed population. All people are equally affected by the trouble in the area. The business of shopkeepers belonging to different sects and religions is badly affected. Many times their shops are vandalised or set on fire during violence,” said Surya Prakash Mishra, 34, a Hindu volunteer (police mitra), from Thakurganj,

At l east 45 people were injured and around 15 makeshift shops were vandalized during the sectarian violence during Ramzan in July this year.

Mishra , who runs a school in the area, is spreading the message of peace through kids. He said the children have to miss school whenever the Old City is tense and this hinders their studies.

He said, “Kids are the best ambassadors of peace. I always ask them to forward the message of harmony to their parents, family members, relatives and friends.”
Mishra said he has also asked teachers to promote communal harmony.

Mishra said most of his friends were Muslims and he never had problems with them despite the flare-ups in Old City.

“I do not feel that any religion promotes things, which create trouble for others. Why become puppets in the hands of some people and get involved in violence,” he emphasised.

His friend Mohd Shoaib, 22, has also joined the initiative.

“He has formed a group of youths from both sects of the minority community and other communities who will assist in the peace mission,” added Mishra.

“So far, 20 youths have joined in. But the group is growing by the day,” he said, adding that he had joined hands with the police, as he was fed up of this ‘annual trend’ and wanted to end it desperately.


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