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Religious barriers shattered in Nonapukur Lohapatty puja

Religious barriers shattered in Nonapukur Lohapatty puja
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Kolkata: It may be bereft of the pomp and grandeur that we usually associate with the Durga Pujas in Kolkata which vie for attention churning out innovative themes but when it comes to delivering the message of communal harmony and brotherhood, the Nonapukur Lohapatty Puja which is in its 67th year will surely set a precedence. Here, Hindu and Muslim communities join hands in organising the Durga Puja in front of Nonapukur tram depot.
The puja has Manzar Iqbal, Member Mayor in Council (light) of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation as the chairman while Shamsad Alam as vice president. "I am associated with this puja for many years, even from the days when I was not an MMiC. We join hands in every single ritual associated with the puja," Iqbal said.
Sanjay Prasad Sau, the secretary of the puja committee admits that the support from Iqbal (popularly known as Manzar Bhai) is immense in observing the Durga Puja of Lohapatty. "It is an area which has a mixture of Hindu and Muslim population and the unity between the two communities is our strength. As we involve ourselves in the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Zoha and other
Muslim festivals, they also take part in the preparation of Bhog, cutting of fruits and vegetables as well as the immersion," Sau said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee always boasts of the communal harmony in the state. She actively takes part in the festivals of all communities; goes for Namaz during Eid and visits the church for offering prayers on Christmas and inaugurates innumerable Durga Pujas every year.
"The puja will be inaugurated by Panchayat and Rural Development minister Subrata Mukherjee on Tuesday." Small businessmen contribute much to our puja. However, this year they have been badly hit with the introduction of GST. We have curtailed our budget by almost 10 lakh this year. Last year, our budget was Rs 16 lakh. We have brought it down to Rs 6 lakh this year," Sau said.
The theme of the puja is Shiva temple and so the pandal is being given the shape of a Shiva shrine.
A Shiv Linga of around 6 feet is set up at the entry of the pandal which will be surrounded by a small artificial waterbody.

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