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Muslims and Hindus greeting each other at Puthanatham.
Muslims and Hindus greeting each other at Puthanatham.

R. Rajaram

TIRUCHI: Communal harmony and brotherhood came to the fore during a Vinayaka idol procession at "communally hypersensitive" Puthanatham in the district on Wednesday when Muslims and Hindus greeted each other and exchanged pleasantries when the idol halted in front of a mosque for some time.

Dispelling morbid fears of trouble erupting, the procession passed off peacefully in the non-descript town with some Muslim youths also taking part in the procession till the immersion point.

The five-feet high idol of Vinayaka was installed at the south end of the town close to the police station. The procession route was one-and-a-half km long. The procession started at 3 p.m. and the idol reached the Puthanatham-Manapparai main road where the mosque is located.

When the idol came in front of the mosque, the local Muslims came to the spot carrying garlands and shawls. A brief puja was performed to the idol after which the Muslims presented a shawl to the idol as well as to the Vinayaka Chaturthi committee members, the police said.

They greeted their Hindu brethren and distributed sweets to them and policemen who were deployed for bandobust. On their part, the Chathurthi committee members too garlanded the Muslims thus displaying their brotherhood. A few of them went inside the mosque and presented a `chaddhar' and hugged the Muslims assembled there.

The police said there was no bursting of crackers and no slogans were raised all along the procession route. Tiruchi Rural police had made the bandobust plan for idol processions in such a way that it was easy to move the police party from one spot to the other on the procession day.

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