Ahmedabad: After Puri in Odisha, the biggest Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra is perhaps held in Ahmedabad. In a bid to spread the message of communal harmony ahead of the Rath Yatra scheduled on July 1, the Ahmedabad Police have come out with a novel plan to hold a night T20 cricket tournament in which members of both the communities will take part.
As per the plan, 16 teams, including one from the Ahmedamad Police, will participate in the harmony tourney in which each squad will comprise members from both the Hindu and Muslim communities.
The police are also holding blood donation camps in the areas through which the Rath Yatra procession passes, encouraging people from all sections to participate in them.
In Ahmedabad, which will witness the 145th Rath Yatra this year, the chariot procession starts from the Jamalpur temple and returns to the same spot after traveling for 22 km through Gol Limda, Khadia, Kalupur, Saraspur, Delhi Darwza, Prem Darwaza, Pankor Naka and Manekchowk.
The route covers Muslim and some Hindu majority areas. In the past, there have been incidents of communal clashes or clashes between the two processes of Rath Yatra and Muharram. So it’s always a challenge for the city police to keep the situation under control.
Police Commissioner Sanjay Shrivastav said the elders from both the communities are working with the police to ensure a hassle-free Yatra.
“The cricket tourney is part of our effort to involve the youth from both the communities to maintain harmony in the city,” he said.
Muslim community representative Maulana Tahir said, “Our ancestors have always supported communal harmony, as no religion can survive without brotherhood and love. We are here to spread peace and love by participating in the tournament.”
Head priest of the Jagannath temple, Mahant Deelip Das, welcomed the steps taken by the police for communal harmony, saying: “We are here to celebrate the festival with all our fellow citizens.”
“It has been our tradition to celebrate the Rath Yatra with all the people without any differences or bias,” said temple trustee Mahendra jha.