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Islam and Pluralism ( 4 Aug 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Harmony in the time of strife: Kashmiri Pandit Matrimony

Press Trust Of India
Srinagar, August 04, 2008
Unrest in Jammu & Kashmir over the Amarnath land transfer order might have assumed violent overtones, but Muslims sang wedding songs for a Kashmiri Pandit girl in a declaration of genuine neighbourly love.

Suman Koul, daughter of Pushkar Nath Koul, got married to Ravinder Zutshi from Ganderbal district amid wanwun (traditional Kashmiri wedding songs) sung by her Muslim neighbours in Karfali Mohalla of Habba Kadal area.

The Muslim women, too, joined the party by welcoming Zutshi’s baraat with songs, while men garlanded the groom.

Kouls are the only Pandit family living in the area after rest of their community fled to Jammu after eruption of militancy in the state in the early 1990s.

The locals and Auqaf Committee of Habba Kadal in a joint effort held the marriage ceremony.

“We did whatever we felt as our moral duty. We know communal forces are eyeing to disrupt the religious harmony in the state, but we will not allow them to succeed,” Bashir Ahmad, a neighbour of the Kouls, said.

A member of the Auqaf Committee said Muslims were duty bound by their religion to take care of their neighbours. “We are Muslims and will abide by what our religion says in matters of behaviour with our neighbours, no matter what the caste or religion of the neighbour is,” he added.

The Pandit family had arranged separate feasts for Muslims and Pandits on Saturday and Sunday respectively.