SRINIGAR: In Chinkral Mohalla, Bashir Ahmed Dar is getting ready to go out after weeks of curfew. The city is still tense. But on Wednesday, Bashir can simply not stay in; he has to say a final good bye to friend and neighbour Kishan Lal Puri. Practically every resident of Chinkral came out to accompany Lal on his final journey.
“It is our tradition, it is our brotherhood. Muslims and Pandits live together, we have grown up together,” Bashir said. “Our Prophet Mohammad has taught us that guarding minorities is your sacred duty. We can risk our lives for their protection. We have protected them and we will protect them. Their daughters are our daughters,” said Mohammad Shafi, a Muslim neighbour.
It’s not just symbolic. While a few Pandits were called by the family to perform religious rites, all other rituals were done by the Muslims. “You can see, they are Muslims and we are just 5-6 Pandits. They have done everything. We only performed religious rites. They organised vehicles, informed police and carried the body from home,” said Cham Lal Matoo, Kashmiri Pandit living in the area.
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