YAVATMAL: A non-descript village in Maharashtra's Yavatmal district, which earlier witnessed communal unrest, has now set an example of brotherhood by installing both the 'Muharram sawari' and Lord Ganesh's idol under one roof.
Prayers are being held uninterruptedly by both the Hindu and Muslim communities at the same venue at Vidul village in Yavatmal's Umarkhed tehsil.
The unifying initiative, taken by Yavatmal Superintendent of Police Megnathan Rajkumar, is significant as the area had in the past witnessed several incidents of communal disharmony during the Ganesh festival celebrated by Hindus and the Ramzan Eid and Muharram of Muslims.
Since the Ganesh festival and Muharram are coinciding this year, Rajkumar instructed the Umarkhed police station inspector, Hanumant Gaikwad, to call a peace meeting of villagers on September 8 in the gram panchayat office.
Gaikwad conveyed the SP's suggestion to villagers that they should think of holding the Ganesh and Muharram functions jointly.
The villagers unanimously accepted the suggestion and set up a pandal at Nalsaheb Devsthan temple in Vidul where both the religious functions are being held.
The temple trust's chairman, Jayaram Dhage, said the Ganesh festival is being celebrated in the religious premises for the last 134 years.
"Some years, Ganpati and Muharram coincide. We have now decided that whenever these two festivals coincide, we will celebrate them together with fervour and enthusiasm," he said.
The police have also prepared separate time schedules for the processions of Ganesh idol immersion and Muharram sawari to avoid any confrontation between the two communities.
Two persons were killed in a communal clash in Yavatmal in April 2008. The district had also witnessed extensive rioting in November 2006 and curfew was then clamped in several areas.