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Kashmiri pandits celebrate Diwali in Srinagar

October 27, 2011 - Srinagar

Sending out a message of communal harmony the Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims of the Kashmir valley celebrated Diwali, together after 21 years here on Wednesday.

Commenting on the celebration of the festival, Rudra, a Kashmiri Pandit said such gathering should take place frequently as it would bring the two communities closer to each other.

"I feel that such events increase religious tolerance. Religious tolerance is very important, tolerance for any community or somebody who does not belong to your community. If you are tolerating him that means you tend to look at that person as a human being and not as a member of a specific community," said Rudra.

"So, if today a person from one community celebrates his festival with another community, then this will increase his tolerance level towards the other person and eventually it strengthens humanity," he added.

In the later part of 1980s, the minority Hindu community of the state was driven out of the valley owing to the beginning of insurgency and separatist movement.

Nearly 50,000 people have been killed in Indian Kashmir since insurgency which started in the late 1980s.

Another local Shabir Ahmad said that in the last 20 years he had never witnessed such a big gathering of two communities.

"For the first time in my life, I saw such a big gathering of so many people on the occasion of Diwali. They are lighting candles and the most important thing is that they have lit the candles at the bridge through which they want to bridge the gap between the two communities. This is as an opportunity to unite the two communities. The ideals of the two religions are the same which unites Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or Christians," said Ahmad.


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