The Muslim community in Jodhpur has collectively decided to hold muted Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations as a show of solidarity with victims of the Chamunda Devi temple stampede.
The community was among the first to organise relief operations at the Meherangadh Fort on Tuesday and has donated Rs 1 lakh to a relief fund as well as begun blood donation drives.
The show of solidarity began on Wednesday afternoon when Muslim youths went around the city putting up posters requesting the community to only offer namaaz on Thursday and not celebrate Eid with the usual pomp. "This stampede is probably the worst such tragedy in Jodhpur ever... How can we celebrate after such a tragedy?" said Ateef Ahmed, Chairman of the Marwar Educational Society and a social activist.
Jamaat-E-Islami Hind's state president Salim Engineer said they have requested Muslims across the state to celebrate a muted Eid as a show of solidarity with the families mourning the loss of their loved ones.
The efforts of the Muslim community have not gone unnoticed. Sunil Rajoria, a resident of the Kallal Colony, which is located just 500 metres from the fort and which lost 10 men to the stampede, said: "We have always lived as one here and Muslims were among the first to rush to hospitals to donate blood and help with the rescue effort. We appreciate this effort by our Muslim brothers in our time of mourning."
He added that this gesture meant far more than the stream of VIPs, who have been coming without a break since Tuesday morning. AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi has dropped in, besides former Rajasthan chief ministers Ashok Ghelot and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, former foreign minister Jaswant Singh and at least 15 state ministers.
Saying politicians remembered them at the time of elections, Santosh Chauhan too appreciated the gesture by his Muslim neighbours. Muslims and Hindus have always lived as one in the colony, he said.
Both Rajoria and Chauhan hope the move by the Muslims sends a much-needed message to not just Jodhpur but the entire country. "Such a gesture at a time when forces are trying to divide Hindus and Muslims should not go unnoticed," says Rajoria.