Setting an example of communal harmony and brotherhood, local Muslims in Tahab village of south Kashmir came together to help perform the last rites of their 70-year-old Hindu neighbour who died on Saturday.
Chaman Lal, a resident of Tahab village in Pulwama district, was an employee of BSNL and a known figure in the village. He spent a lot of his time in the company of his Muslim friends.
As only a few of his family members were around, Lal’s local friends and neighbours from the Muslim community took it upon themselves to help perform his last rites.
(Photo: Shuja ul Haq)
The local Muslims organised and performed his last rites and mourned his death as one of their own. They shouldered his coffin and arranged wood for the cremation in the village. Hundreds of Muslim villagers participated.
When Lal’s sons and daughter arrived in the village from Jammu, they thanked the locals for showing so much love and care to their family.
“He was one of us. We never thought of him as a pandit. We arranged everything needed for the cremation,” Muhammad Sultan, an elderly man, said.
Another local resident stated, “He has been living here among us for many years. We have lived alongside each other and done everything together. In his final journey also we are with him.”
Chaman Lal’s family is one of the few Kashmiri pandit families that did not migrate in the 1990s but opted to stay on in their native village.