State

Mosque offers shelter to Hindus in rain-hit Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 22 (PTI) With a mosque opening its portals to distressed Hindus and Muslims cleaning temples, the murderous monsoon seems to have washed away the barriers of religious differences in rain-ravaged Kerala.

Amid the distress triggered by the floods, a mosque in northern Malappuram, one of the worst-hit districts, has offered shelter to 17 displaced Hindu families, including women, children and the elderly.

The Juma Masjid, located at Akampadam in Chaliyar village, has virtually turned a relief camp since the second spell of rains started to devastate the northern districts on August 8.

Cutting across religion and caste, the displaced people were given space to sleep inside the mosque, provided food prepared at its canteen and given rice, pulses and other essential materials when they returned home.

Most of the 78 people, who were given shelter at the Juma Masjid, were Hindus, Chaliyar village panchayat chief P T Usman said.

“There were 26 families who had sought refuge in the mosque, a majority of them Hindus. Though we opened the relief camp at the mosque on August 8, the activities started in full swing only after August 14, following a series of landslides that rocked the district,” he told PTI.

The Hindu families returned two days ago as water receded from their submerged homes, Usman said.

“The rest returned home after taking part in the observance of Bakrid today,” he added.

Meanwhile, two groups of Muslim men had no hesitation in cleaning Hindu shrines in Wayanad and Malappuram districts.

A Vishnu temple at Venniyode in Wayanad and a shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa at Mannarkkad in Malappuram, inundated due to the floods, were cleaned by them.

Many shared the photos of the Muslim men cleaning the temples on social media.

A total of 231 people have lost their lives and 32 are missing in flood-related incidents in Kerala since August 8.

Nearly 14.50 lakh people from 3.91 lakh families have taken shelter in about 3,879 relief camps across the state.

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