Patna: In an example of communal harmony in India, Muslims in the holy month of Ramadan have helped in the construction of a Jain temple in Bhagalpur town of Bihar.


Mohammad Janeshar Akhtar even demolished a portion of his house Friday to enable the movement of a 70-foot long truck laden with a granite stone block, being carried for making an idol at the temple, officials said Saturday. Other Muslims helped widen the street so that the vehicle could reach the temple without much difficulty.


“In the holy month of Ramadan when a Muslim is supposed to do rightful things, I decided to help my Jain brothers. I thought that if I refuse to demolish the roof of my house, it will obstruct the construction of the statue,” said Akhtar.


The granite block was 35 feet long, 9 feet wide and 5 feet tall and was loaded on the truck. It could not be negotiated through the narrow and congested street near Akhtar’s house.


“I demolished a portion of my boundary wall and roof of my house after the truck carrying the huge granite block got stuck on the narrow road leading to the temple,” he said.


Akhtar along with Mohammad Alam, both residents of Kabirpur, a Muslim locality in Bhagalpur, about 200 km from here, then helped members of Champapur Digambar Jain temple to move the truck with the granite block to the temple for constructing the statue of Vaspujya Bhagwan, a district police official said.


“After the news spread that the truck carrying granite stone for the temple was stuck near his house, Akhtar decided to demolish the wall and the roof of his house,” police official said.


Aalam, another man from the community, requested his Muslim neighbours to help in widening the road, the officvial said.


Akhtar told IANS over telephone that when even after the demolition of the boundary wall of his house the truck could not move, he asked workers to demolish a portion of the roof also as it was blocking the truck.


“Local Muslim residents helped to widen the road… It was a positive development for social harmony,” Alam said.


Bhagalpur town had a history of communal conflict. It witnessed one of the worst riots in the country, in which over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in October 1989.


Early this year, some Muslims had helped in building a Hindu temple dedicated to goddess Durga in Bihar’s Gaya district. Muslims not only donated money but were also involved in the construction of the temple.


Earlier, a Muslim had donated his land for a temple dedicated to god Shiva in Begusarai district. Mohammad Fakhrool Islam had given land for it in Muslim-dominated Bachwara village.


Over three decades ago, in the same village some Hindus had donated a piece of land for the construction of a mazar (a place where a saint is buried).


(Supplied by Irfan Engineer)

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