Muslims in Manipur pray for peace and harmony on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr

By Dr. Syed Ahmed,,

Imphal: Muslims in Manipur joined their brethrens in other parts of India in celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr on 20 August 2012, which marked the end of the holy month of Ramzan. Muslims gathered at masjids and idgahs, and performed Id namaz. Considering the unfortunate developments of violence in Assam and some other parts of India, Muslims prayed for communal peace and harmony. However, the festive mood was dampened by the rain.

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At Imphal, Eid prayers were held at some of the prominent masjids. Chief Minister O. Ibobi visited the historic Sadar Bazar Jame Masjid and greeted the Muslims gathered there for the Eid prayers. Mass prayers were also held at Hafiz Hatta Masjid, Pormopat Masjid (regarded as the oldest masjid in Manipur), Babupara Masjid, among others.

Muslims coming out from masjid after Eid namaz

Muslims wholeheartedly prayed for peace and harmony in the State as well as in this country. An Imam of a mosque said, “The outbreak of violence in some parts of Assam and the attacks and threats on students, professionals and workers from North-Eastern region of India in some of the cities of South India has created an atmosphere of fear and apprehension in the minds of the people in the State. We prayed to the Almighty on this auspicious occasion to restore peace and communal harmony in this country.”

A young Muslim, who is studying in a madrasa in South India, expressed serious concern and disappointment at the outbreak of senseless threats and violence in some of the cities in mainland India. He said, “We got our vacation and came back home before Ramzan. It is really sad to learn that people from North-East studying and working in many of the cities are being threatened and had to return back home. The situation makes me apprehensive of going back to join my madrasa. It is the same with many of my friends studying outside. We prayed to Allah to restore peace and harmony in this country. We sincerely hope people will unite, shun violence and live in peace and harmony.”

The unfortunate killing of four people, including a 21-year old Muslim from Manipur, Sharif Ahmed, studying MA at Cotton College in Guwahati, at Belakoba railway station near Jalpaiguri on 19 August 2012 has further heightened the fear and tension among the people in the State on the tense situations in many parts of the country.

Call for peace and harmony also marked Eid-ul-Fitr greetings. Greeting the Muslims on the occasion, Governor of Manipur, Gurbhachan Jagat stated that the month-long fasting before this Holy Festival is an exhortation to mankind to perform deeds of high value, because, in doing so, the excellence of our soul is enhanced. The holy festival spreads the message of peace, brotherhood and universal love which is the prerequisite during the present period of disarray, he added. On this auspicious occasion, as recipients of God’s love, we should resolve to condition our social demeanour so as to preserve and disseminate the message of peace, friendship and universal love,’ he said.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi, addressing the Muslims at Jame Masjid, also called on the people of the State to maintain peace and harmony cutting across communal and religious affiliations. He said that all the communities inhabiting this State, in spite of their different religious affiliations, are Manipuris, and all citizens are equal. He also urged the people to abstain from any evil design and not to hurt the sentiments of any community by making derogatory statement. The State government would not tolerate any discrimination towards minority communities, he insisted.

Children celebrating Eid

Other dignitaries of the State also conveyed warm greetings to the Muslims and call for peace in the State. Lok Sabha MP from Manipur, Dr. T Meinya expressed in his greetings that Eid-ul- Fitr will usher in peace and communal harmony among the numerous communities settled in Manipur. Home Minister of the State, Gaikhangam expressed hope that the sacred festival will bring peace and communal harmony among the people. The time has come for everyone to shed narrow, communal outlook and live together as one, he added.

Chairperson of Manipur State Minorities Commission, A Halim Choudhury, in his message, urged the Manipuris to retain the characteristics of modesty, nobility and calm and promote peaceful co-existence among the various communities.

Visiting relatives and friends, prayers for the deceased, feasting marked the auspicious occasion in the State.