Thiruvananthapuram(Shaju Philip) : It’s a rare tribute that is drawing as much attention as the…
Thiruvananthapuram(Shaju Philip) : It’s a rare tribute that is drawing as much attention as the tragedy that led to it. A temple in Kerala stopped offering pujas for two days this week to mourn a 23-year-old Muslim man who was beaten to death in an incident that was captured by an eyewitness in a video clip that went viral.
M V Shabeer, 23, was a member of the executive committee that organises the annual festival at the Shiva temple at Puthennada near Attingal in Thiruvananthapuram district. According to police, he was beaten to death on Sunday afternoon by four men following a dispute over an elephant running amok during the festival last year.
On Monday and Tuesday, the Shiva temple’s office-bearers decided not to blow the conch or ring the bell as a mark of respect for Shabeer. The temple, which holds five pujas a day, did not offer them on those two days after the morning “darshan”.
”It was a friendship beyond religion, We never considered Shabeer as a Muslim in the temple committee,” said N Unni, another member of the executive committee for the temple festival.
“Shabeer was the most active member in our committee. This time, I had gone out only for a day to collect provisions from houses for the annadanam (offering of food). But Shabeer was out collecting rice and coconuts for a whole week,” said Unni.
Following Shabeer’s death, the temple has also decided to abandon the “annadanam” and the traditional procession for the 10-day festival starting February 9.
“Shabeer was a religious Muslim who loved our activities and took part in them sincerely. We always considered him as one among us and included him in the festival committee two years ago,” said C Gouri Chandra, convenor of the committee.