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Navratri is a Festival which can be Celebrated by all, Irrespective of their Caste or Religion

Religious enthusiasm and excitement accompany the festivities of Navratri as people come together to celebrate the triumph of good over evil

The nine day festival of Navratri celebrates the feminine nature of the Divine. Wikimedia
  • Navratri is a nine day festival primarily dedicated to Goddess Durga
  • The festival combines ritualistic puja and fasting along with cultural activities for nine consecutive days and nights.
  • This year the festival will be celebrated from September 21 to 29

Mumbai, August 31, 2017 : Navratri is a festival which can be celebrated by all, irrespective of their caste or religion, says one of the organizers of Ruparel Navratri Utsav 2017 here.

Ruparel Navratri Utsav 2017, co-organised by Ruparel Realty and Showbizz Entertainment, will be held from September 21 to 29. Popular singer Falguni Pathak is set to perform at the festival.

Asked if Muslims are barred from such events, Santosh Singh, one of the organizers and director of Showbizz Entertainment, told IANS: “Garbas are not meant for Hindus only. There are no divisions based on caste or religion. Everyone should be welcome, and in Mumbai, they are.”

ALSO READ Navratri: Why India is celebrating 9-Day Hindu Festival and how it is associated with re-incarnations of Goddess Durga?

The festival will take place at the 13-acre Late Shri Pramod Mahajan Sports Complex of Borivli, Mumbai. It means loads of people would turn up for the event. What are the security measures taken by them?

“We are not checking anyone’s identity, but we have deployed extra security and stringent crowd management measures, especially for women, so that they can enjoy the festival while feeling safe and relaxed,” said Singh.

Have demonetisation and GST taken a toll on Navratri celebrations?

“We don’t know about others, but for us, this year the Navratri festival will be interesting because after demonetization and GST, it will be the first religious and social programme that will bring lakhs of people together,” he said. (IANS)


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Sri Lankan Muslims speak of tragedies back home

Sri Lankan Muslims and supporters protested outside the UN against the recent violence targeting their community

Sri Lankan Muslims and supporters protested outside the UN. IANS
Sri Lankan Muslims and supporters protested outside the UN. IANS

Sri Lankan Muslims and supporters protested outside the UN against the recent violence targeting their community, and for some of them it had been an intimate family tragedy.

While participating in the demonstration of about 250 people, on Wednesday, they narrated to IANS the harrowing moments they went through as they helplessly shared the trauma in real time over the phone with their families as the relatives were besieged by mobs during the riots.

Munir Salim’s parent’s home was destroyed and car set ablaze by a rampaging mob in Welekada Ambalateena near Kandy on March 7, and his elderly parents and his sister with her five children barely managed to survive only because the rioters could not break the main door.

Protest against violence and injustice. (VOA)

But they set fire to the second floor of the house, where his sister lived, said Salim, who is the president of the Sri Lanka Muslim Association of New Jersey. His sister fled downstairs with her children and survived with her parents, he added.

“I was feeling helpless talking to my parents when they first told me how they were throwing stones at our house and setting fire to the mosque and the shops in the area,” he said.

The rioters then moved away for a while seeking other targets, then returned to set the fire to the house and the properties as he was calling them back, he said.

The houses of two of his aunts nearby were also attacked and his cousin had to carry his paralysed mother as they fled for their lives, he said.

There were two deaths, injuries to dozens of people, hundreds of houses and businesses destroyed and several mosques damaged during the riots that started on February 26 and continued till March 10. Sri Lanka imposed a State of Emergency and deployed troops to quell the violence.

For Shihana Mohamed it was a heartbreak, listening over the phone as her family’s history of living harmoniously in the Kandy area for more than a thousand years, unraveled on March 6, she said.

She told IANS that her sister-in-law fractured her leg while fleeing the fury of the mob that attacked her brother’s house, destroying it and burning his car in Kengalla, also near Kandy.

Also Read: A proposed bill criminalising triple talaq, now empowering Muslim women

Her 83-year-old bedridden uncle’s house was also attacked, she said, and his family had to carry him to safety. As she was hearing about the attacks on her phone, she said that she wept and then desperately called diplomats asking for help. While the attacks were taking place, the security personnel stationed nearby did not intervene, she said.

Mohamed said that while the attackers were Sinhala extremists, there were other Sinhalas who came to the aid of Muslims at risk to themselves.

The Sinhala family next to her brother’s house tried to intervene, but the mob over-ran them, while a Sinhala neighbour stopped the rioters from burning down her house, even though they managed to break the windows, she said. Her uncle was protected initially by a Sinhala, she said. In another instance of communal amity, she said a Tamil family sheltered her sister-in-law, who had broken her leg.

For her family this was the second setback. During riots in 1989, which were not overtly communal but more political, her family’s properties were destroyed and they had to rebuild home and business.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

The Association of Sri Lankan Muslims in North America (Tasmina), which organised the protest, demanded that the UN intervene and hold the Sri Lankan government responsible for bringing the rioters to justice and protect minorities.

Ghazzali Wadood, who was one of the protesters, said, “It is the ultra-nationalists who are responsible for the attacks. The government should take action against the politicians behind the attacks.” IANS