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Durban may witness two separate Diwali celebrations

The South African city may witness two Diwali celebrations after a public spar between two prominent politicians of Indian origin.

world Updated: Aug 04, 2003 11:30 IST

Come October, this South African city may witness two separate Diwali celebrations, following public clashes between two prominent politicians of Indian origin belonging to different parties.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Narend Singh and Deputy Mayor of Durban Logie Naidoo, a member of the African National Congress, have clashed openly on Diwali celebrations they plan to organise this October.

While Singh announced that he will go ahead with his Mitchell Park Festival of Lights, Naidoo says the celebration would be a duplication of the City Council's Durban Diwali Festival.

Naidoo has accused Singh of using the event as a vote-catching exercise for his party ahead of the general elections next year, a charge denied by the latter.

The controversy reached such a stage that community leaders had to intervene and there were indications that the two functions would go ahead without any recriminations.

Durban Mayor Obed Mlaba, at a meeting here had called for an amicable solution to the issue.

"It was emphasised that both the beachfront and the Mitchell Park functions were city events and should not be seen to clash with each other," Naidoo said.

"The city therefore proposed that both the events take place under one umbrella body, complementing each other."

The organisers of the Mitchell Park Festival of Lights said they would respond soon to the suggestion.

First Published: Aug 04, 2003 11:30 IST