Sending a signal that the nation’s social fabric was intact ahead of the Ayodhya verdict, Muslims in Srinagar found a way around curfew to help a Hindu family in distress.
When Krishan Chander Purvi died in the sensitive old city on Wednesday, his daughter Anita knocked at the door of their Muslim neighbours, who came rushing to help the lone pandit family in the area.
From informing relatives to calling police for a curfew pass to arranging firewood to taking the body to the crematorium, Muslims did it all. Scores joined the funeral procession of Purvi at Chinkaral Mohalla in sensitive Habba Kadal.
“When my father passed away, we first informed our Muslim neighbours. They gave us a lot of support and courage. Even when my father was ill, they would frequently visit to enquire about his health,” Anita said.
Krishan Chander’s is the only pandit family in Chinkaral Mohalla. A lot of people migrated in 1990 at the onset of militancy, but this family decided to stay back.
Official figures reveal around 59,542 families migrated from Kashmir after 1990. Among them were 34,202 Kashmiri pandits who went to Jammu and 2,168 Muslim and 1,749 Sikh families. Around 3,000 pandits are still living in different parts of the Valley alongside their Muslims brethren.
“Muslims and pandits have been living in harmony for ages. That is why despite curfew people came out in hordes to join Krishan Purvi’s funeral. He was an illustrious son of the soil. Had there been no curfew, nearly 50,000 people would have joined the funeral,” Showkat Ahmad, a neighbour, said.
Purvi’s relatives became sentimental when they saw Muslims going out of their way to help the family in grief. “When he died, we pandits didn’t even know. It was local Muslims who did all that was to be done. We arrived later,” Chaman Lal Matoo said.
Hindu Welfare Society, the apex body of Kashmiri pandits who did not migrate, hailed Muslims for reinforcing their commitment to Kashmiriyat. “This is real Kashmiriyat. We are first Kashmiris, other things come later. The people of Chinkaral Mohalla have proved that,” CL Bhat, the society’s publicity secretary, said.