At a time when parts of the country is witnessing communal tension over citizenship law, the car procession of Koniamman Temple in the city this year also turned a platform to strengthen communal harmony.
Muslim brethren stood in front of the mosque on Oppanakara Street, through which the procession passed, and gave water bottles to Hindu devotees.
Members of the two faiths also exchanged greetings as thousands of devotees who took part in the procession passed the mosque.
“We knew that devotees walk past would be in need of water. The Jamath committee took the decision to distribute water on Wednesday morning. We distributed 5,000 bottles of water to devotees from 12.30 p.m.,” said A. Shanawaz, president of the Jamath committee.
According to him, the Jamath committee made a unanimous decision on giving water to devotees as gesture to strengthen communal harmony.
The Jamath members also interacted with Hindu priests and leaders of Hindu organisations who took part in the procession.
Mookambika Mani, state spokesperson of BJP, formerly with Hindu Munnani, said that the gesture from Muslims was a soothing sign of communal harmony which has was expecting to continue.
The car festival used to have elements of communal harmony in the past too as then popular Shobha Cloth Centre at Oppanakara Street used to sponsor serial lightings for the event in the 1980s when Jafer Ali was its chairman and managing director, recalled local historian Rajesh Govindarajulu. “The serial lights were done by a person named Karunanidhi from Tiruvarur. Members of various faiths including Sikhs and Christians used to stand near Shobha Cloth Centre and greet the procession as it reaches there,” he said. The police said that procession held on Wednesday was peaceful. The city police had deployed around 800 personnel for the smooth flow of the procession.