In an example of communal harmony, a 47-year-old Muslim butcher and his family have been celebrating Ganesh festival at their home which they say has brought them "happiness and prosperity".
Aneesh Quereshi, his wife and three children have been performing the puja of the elephant-headed deity for last five years by installing the idol at their Shivrajpur village home in Gujarat's Panchmahal district, about 60 kms from Godhra which was the epicenter of the 2002 riots.
"I have been putting up the idol of Lord Ganesh in my home and we perform aarti and puja during the ten-day festival beginning from Ganesh Chaturthi and will continue it till immersion on 'chaudas' of this Hindu month," Aneesh told PTI.
"My family and I have great 'shraddha' (faith) in Lord Ganesh and have been worshiping Him for last several years," he said.
It was five years back when they first decided to bring the idol of Ganesh at home. This has brought "happiness and prosperity" to the family and strengthened their faith in the Lord, he said.
"I keep myself away from cutting meat, which is my source of livelihood, during the ten-day festival. I had also suspended my business (of meat cutting) during Shraavan last month," he said.
The family will complete the ten-day Ganesh festivities by immersing the idol in Dhadhar river on the last day of the festival, he said.
Aneesh's 15-year-old daughter Ruksana said, "We became owners of our home after worshiping and starting the puja of Lord Ganesh. Prior to it, we had been staying as tenants. Owning a house gives a different feeling, all thanks to worship of Lord Ganesh," she said.
Shivrajpur village sarpanch Kanubhai Soni said, "This has set up a unique example of brotherhood and communal amity. The Hindu people staying in the village visit Quereshi's home for darshan at the time of aarti and puja of the idol."
"This is a message of amity for people of the whole country to live together in peace," he said.
Deputy sarpanch Satish Sharma said the celebration has been going on in their village, having a population of nearly 5,000, with a lot of camaraderie between the two communities.
Almost whole of the village participates along with Quereshi in the immersion of idol in Dhadhar river every year, he added.
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