Guwahati, Saturday, October 12, 2013
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Muslims organise Durga Puja alongside Hindus in Tripura

 KULUBARI (Tripura), Oct 12 (IANS): In a heart-warming sign, Muslims in two villages bordering Bangladesh in Tripura are jointly celebrating the Durga Puja with Hindus.

Dominated by Muslims, the Kulubari and Durgapur villages in western Tripura's Sepahijala district, attract people of all religions across the northeastern state for their rare show of religious harmony in celebrating Durga Puja, which begun Thursday with the 'Bodhan' - welcoming the idols of Godess Durga.

"The festival is for all. Why should we not organise this with everyone else? This is Tripura. We would like to live here together, die together and also like to share everything amongst us," said Mujibur Rahman Chowdhury, an elderly Muslim leader in Kulubari village.

"Men, women and children, Muslims and Hindus, with all sincerity and commitment have been jointly been organising Durga Puja for the past few years," Chowdjury told IANS.

Over 90 percent of the total population of both Kulubari and Durgapur villages are Muslims, who comprise around nine percent of Tripura's total of 3.7 million population.

Kulubari Durga Puja Organising Committee secretary Ratan Das said: "Our puja budget is around Rs.1 lakh. The majority of the money is given by the Muslims. Hindus are not in a minority in the village but they are very poor too."

"Muslim youths are helping us to collet the materials for the puja. Elderly Muslim men are also conscious about the rituals of Durga Puja," Das told IANS.

Like Kulubari, less than 10 percent Hindus people live in Durgapur, 70 km south of Tripura capital Agartala, located adjoining the Gomati river that flows into Bangladesh.

Durgapur villagers have been celebrating Durga Puja with fanfare and religious fervour, thanks to the active support of Muslims.

"We are really happy that Durga Puja is celebrated in our village with the active help of the majority Muslims. This is incomparable in many parts of our country," said, Swapan Saha, a Hindu villager and a government school teacher.

He said: "Without the sincere support of Muslims, we can't dream of celebrating the festival in such a big way as the Hindu population is very few."

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