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Home / India / Cleric saves Gorakhpur from burning

Cleric saves Gorakhpur from burning

Local Imam plays peace card at a time when political parties are out to draw mileage, reports Rajesh K Singh.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2007, 21:49 IST

At a time when political parties are out to draw mileage from the anarchy prevailing in the region, his is the voice of peace and sanity -- something which has saved Gorakhpur from burning. Just one decision of his, a hard one at that, paved the way for calm and prevented the situation from deteriorating any further.

Adnan Farrukh Shah, the chief muttawalli of Imambara Estate popularly known as 'Mian Shahab', has been working hard for restoration of peace in the Purvanchal region since the outbreak of communal violence in the city on January 27.

As the activists of Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) targeted the establishments of the minority community, it seemed the whole region would soon be engulfed in bloody clashes between the two communities.

The Muslim community was preparing to take out the ninth and tenth Moharrum procession, giving the district administration officials sleepless nights on what could be in store. They did not know how to manage the processions as the route passed through some Hindu dominated areas.

In this hour of crisis, Mian Sahab emerged as a saviour. He assured the district administration officials that the Muslim community would not take out the ninth and tenth Muharrum procession.

It was a difficult task to convince the religious leaders and members of the community, but the voice of Mian Sahab prevailed. It was decided that all the tazias would be buried in Karbala after restoration of normalcy.

Following in the footsteps of Mian Sahab, the religious heads of neighbouring Kushinagar district too decided to call off the procession. "Any untoward incident during the procession could have made the situation go out of control," said an official of the district administration.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Mian Sahab said after taking stock of the situation on January 28 he decided to call off the Moharrum processions. "The district magistrate had assured me security during the processions. If I had decided to take out the procession, others would have followed suit. The city was virtually sitting on a powder keg and any untoward incident could have sparked violence. I held talks with all the muttawallis and told them the programme for burial of tazia should be deferred. All of them agreed," he said.

"My family has been leading the Muharrum procession for 303 years now and for the first time in he history of Purvanchal region the tazias were not buried on Ashuraa," he said and added that all the tazias were safe and would be buried when normalcy returned to the city and its neighbouring areas," he said.

Mian Sahab is also taking care of 80 businessmen, majority of them Hindus who were in the city to sell their goods in the local fair. After imposition of curfew, these businessmen were stranded. "We are providing them security and food", he said.

In reply to a question, he said, "I have urged the district administration officials to constitute a peace committee for restoration of peace and amity," he said.

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