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Sangli Communal Violence

The Mid Day
September 8, 2009

Please stay, Hindus tell Sangli Muslims

Repair mosques, shops gutted in Miraj riots to stem their exodus

Mohsin Mulla

Even as communal violence recently rocked Sangli and Kolhapur districts over the installation of a welcome arch depicting Afzal Khan's slaying by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Miraj, two villages have set an example of communal harmony.

At Kavatepiran village in Sangli and Rashiwde-Budruk village in Kolhapur, the Hindu community has raised funds and is repairing houses, mosques and shops belonging to Muslims in a bid to stem their. In Kavatepiran, which has a population of 22,000 people, two mosques were damaged, and several houses and shops belonging to Muslims were set on fire after violence erupted on September 8. Of the 200 Muslim families in the village, around 30 had decided to pack belongings and relocate to a safer place.

As the news spread, several Hindu groups got into the act and started lending a helping hand in the repair works. Prominent leaders also joined the initiative.
At Rashiwde-Budruk village in Radhanagari taluka of Kolhapur district, villagers on Wednesday had conducted a special meeting in which it was decided that money would be collected from Hindus for the repair of a mosque destroyed during the communal tension. In return, the Muslims promised to ensure the release of four youths, who were arrested by the police while they were trying to damage the mosque.

According to director of Kolhapur Zilla Dudh Utpadak Sangh, PD Dhundre, who hails from the village, "Whatever happened is unfortunate. We do not want a repeat of the situation?" he said, adding that the repair work of the mosque will begin this week.


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