Communal harmony can be maintained only if members of different religions respect one another and stop religious conversions, said MP Nalin Kumar Kateel on Sunday.

Speaking at the “Habba Souharda”, an inter-religious festival, organised by Dharma Samanvaya, he said that religious feelings were offended when some people projected their religion as supreme. “We must introspect who started all this tension between religious groups. Who denigrated other faiths and tried to convert people to their faith?” he said.

The event witnessed a grim situation when Mr. Kateel refused to have a traditional harvest sweet, prepared by Catholics, on the dais. The sweet, which was symbolically presented to all the dignitaries on the dais from the same utensil, was offered to Mangalore Diocese Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza, and chancellor of the Nitte Education Trust N. Vinay Hegde.

Representatives from Konkani, Catholic, Protestant, Tuluva, and Beary communities, stressed on the syncretism in coastal Karanataka culture and said that the harvest festival was a symbol of communal amity.

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