Hindus join Muslims in Muharram processions in Orissa

January 8th, 2009 - 9:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Jan 8 (IANS) Hundreds of Hindus Thursday joined Muslims in Orissa to observe the 10th day of Muharram, to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed.Hindus joined Muslims across Orissa and participated in the tazia (replica of the Imam Hussain’s shrine) processions.

A Hindu family in Orissa’s Sambalpur district took out a tazia procession during first Ashra (ten days) of Muharram.

In a procession in Kendrapada district Thursday, around 75 young men were injured after they flagellated themselves with chains and sharp weapons, drawing blood.

“At least five Muslim youths were admitted in the Rajnagar Government Hospital in the district of Kendrapada,” B. Mohanty, a senior doctor of the hospital, told IANS.

Hundreds of Muslim youth in Sambalpur, Khurdha, Jatani and Bhadrak district towns also slashed their bodies with sharp weapons. The injured were later treated at the local government hospitals.

Some Muslim young men also walked on burning coals and many inserted iron pins in their tongues, checks, chests and backs.

Only 2.1 percent of Orissa’s population of 36,706,920 are Muslims. Muslims and Hindu families are known to participate in each other’s religious functions.

Orissa was in the news in recent months for widespread communal violence.

The Kandhamal district, some 200 km from here, erupted into violence after Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides were killed at his ashram Aug 23.

At least 38 people were killed in the state and thousands of Christians forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs. About 6,700 people are still living in government-run relief camps in the district.

While the police blamed Maoists for the killings of the Hindu leader and his aides, some Hindu organisations held Christians responsible for the crime and launched attacks on the community. Christian organisations have repeatedly denied their involvement in the murder.

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