Malegaon spirit bounces back, Mumbai style
A lot has been written about Mumbai's fabled spirit, its resurgence, its ability to fight back after the most inhumane tragedies.
Malegaon is not far behind. Exactly a week after three bombs ripped through the Hamadiya Mosque killing 31 people, more than double the number of faithfuls turned up this Friday to offer their namaaz. Devotees prayed even on the streets right outside the mosque, a space normally taken by fakirs and beggars. Amid unprecedented security, thousands answered the call of Maulana Bari of the mosque for Friday prayers at 1.30 pm.
Bicycles were parked beyond a 100 metre periphery and the beggars were not allowed to crowd near the entrance of the mosque — the familiar sight of a bustling street packed with hawkers was replaced by a sea of khaki.
Policemen kept vigil on Mahriki Iqbal road, leading up to the Bada Kabaristan and the mosque. "We were apprehensive, especially after fresh bomb threats were received," says Bari, adding that a political rally and a Black Day being observed on the same day added to the tension. "But with God's grace everything went off well. We offered special prayers for the blast victims and called upon the residents to maintain peace and communal harmony," he says.
Even as Malegaon kept the faith, with its 70 per cent Muslim population quietly stepping in and out of mosques without disturbing the delicate social fabric of the town, irate residents chose to wear black bands to protest the "slow progress of investigations".
The city also saw JD(S) play out politics with party supremo and former PM Deve Gowda visiting the blast site and also families of the victims. Demanding compensation at par with what was given to the victims of the Mumbai blasts, he said: "I am going to write to the PM, Finance minister and the Plan panel asking for a special package for the city."
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