Hindu village elects a Muslim


A Hindu-dominated village in the district has elected a Muslim as its president thereby making a clear political statement in these troubled and divisive time.

Seriyalur Inam panchayat in Alangudi taluk chose to set aside religious barriers and elect 45-year-old Mohamed Jiyavudeen in the recently-held local body polls. He defeated four of his opponents in a stiff battle because of his connect with the villagers though his social service over the past two years.

After working for nearly 17 years in Saudi Arabia, Mohamed returned to his village a few months before the cyclone Gaja struck in November 2018. On seeing the village completely devastated, Mr. Mohamed says he decided to stay back and help the villagers.

With support from local youth, Mr. Mohamed embarked on a mission to serve the public from then on making arrangements for supplying drinking water and reconstructing the thatched huts besides helping people in obtaining interest free loans.

He adds that he had teamed up with a villagers’ welfare association at Peravurani for digging a canal to store rainwater in a pond besides creating farm ponds by pooling money to augment groundwater table.

“His continuous efforts in serving the villagers since Gaja cyclone warmed the hearts of the people of Seriyalur Inam,” says Kamaraj, a resident of the village.

It was echoed by S.P. Panneerselvam, an ex-president of nearby Seriyalur Jamin village. “The village is dominated by Hindus with only handful of Muslim residents. Nevertheless, the overwhelming support from public ensured his victory despite this being his maiden contest,” he gushes.

Mohamed says he owes his victory especially to the women and youngsters of the village. He claims there were all kinds of pressure on him to withdraw from the contest. But, the villagers stood like a rock behind him, says Mohamed.

“My priority as a president will be to arrange for employment opportunities for women in horticulture,” he says promising to take steps to arrange interest-free loans to develop the village economy.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 6:00:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/hindu-village-elects-a-muslim/article30516921.ece

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