Muslims perform last rites of elderly Pandit lady in Shopian

SHOPIAN — In yet another instance of communal harmony, the local Muslims in south Kashmir’s Shopian district helped perform the last rites of a 75-year-old Kashmiri Pandit lady, who died on Thursday late evening.

Setting an example of communal harmony and brotherhood, the local Muslims in Pargochi village of Pulwama came together to help perform the last rites of their Pandit neighbour.

According to the news agency KNO, Chunni Devi (75), wife of Kanna Lal, resident of Pargichi village about 10 kilometres from Shopian town, died of prolonged illness on Thursday and her last rites were performed on Friday.

As only a few of her family members were around, Devi’s local friends and neighbours from the Muslim community took it upon themselves to help perform her last rites.

The local Muslims organized and performed her last rites and mourned her death as one of their own. They shouldered her coffin and arranged wood for the cremation in the village.

“She was one of us. We never thought of her as a Kashmiri Pandit. We arranged everything needed for the cremation,” said Bashir Ahmad, a local resident.

She has been living here among them for many years. “We have lived alongside each other and done everything together,” said another local while participating in her last rites which were performed in the locality.

“We share a bond that goes back hundreds of years. When we heard about the sad news, all of us rushed to console the family members and arrange the last rites,” he added.

A Pandit from the village said that Muslims of the village always help in times of need and they don’t intervene in their religious affairs. “They sit at a distance when a ritual has to be done by a Pandit or family members, but the rest of the arrangements are wholly and solely done by our Muslim brethren.”

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