Puja celebrated with harmony and brotherhood

Berhampur: Amid Durga Puja and Dussehra festivities, communally sensitive Kandhamal once again demonstrated the inherent harmony and brotherhood among communities in the tribal-dominated district this year.

Four years after the largescale riots of 2008 following the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati, people in Simanbadi in Daringibadi block and other places, seem to have forgotten the bitter incidents while celebrating Durga Puja with a spirit of camaraderie.

The 'Banika Snagha' in Simanbadi has been celebating the four-day community Durga Puja with active participation of the communities like Hindus, Muslims and Christians for the last over 25 years.

Sadhu Nayak, a Catholic Christian who is the president of the 22-member Durga Puja committee, was busy arranging for the day-to-day rituals that culminated today with Vijaya Dashami.

Other members of his community and also Muslims rendered active cooperation in organising the festival.

"We celebrate every festival including Durga Puja, Christmas and Id with the cooperation of each other," says Sadhu.

There are at least three families of Muslims in the village having over 3000 population. The other families are divided almost by the Hindus and the Christians.

"Before celebration of Durga Puja, we invited the local heads of all religions including the priest and Father of the church to attend in the preparatory meeting," said the Chairman, Daringibadi panchayat samiti and one of the members of the puja committee Sushant Kumar Pradhan, a Christian.

"There is a great deal of bonhomie here among the people from different communities and faiths," he said.

"Although we are not performing any ritual during the Durga Puja, we enjoy along with the Hindus," said a person belonging to Muslim community.

The Puja committee has lined up several entertainment programmes during the period. Besides staging a theater with the local artistes, they also planned an orchestra and folk dances. Immersion will be taken place on October 26.