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Like other parts of Kashmir, the pandit community on Wednesday celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, in the south Kashmir's Pulwama and Shopian districts with religious fervour and zeal. The celebrations continued even on Thursday.

Although most of the Kashmiri Pandits left the valley during troubled 1990s to safer states, the ones who chose to stay back have been celebrating their festivals with much enthusiasm alongside with the majority Muslim community. 

Since Diwali morning the pandit community in the twin south Kashmir districts of Pulwama and Shopian thronged to temples and decorated them with flowers and buntings. 

"In the evening we illuminated our worship places and homes with the diyas and performed puja," Deepak told the Greater Kashmir in Pulwama.

Deepak, a resident of Wahibugh, Pulwama, said they celebrated the Diwali with much enthusiasm, particularly among the children who burnt fire crackers and helped elders in illuminating the homes.

Deepak said that the Muslims greeted them on the occasion.

He says that the Kashmiri pandits celebrate Shivratri (Herath) with more enthusiasm as the community is the follower of Shivaism.

In Hall village of the district, the community celebrated the Diwali with religious fervour and gaiety.

"Our Muslim brothers since morning greeted us and helped us in purchasing the candles and diyas used for the ritual,” said Sunil, a resident of Hall.

Similarly the Diwali was celebrated in many areas of neighbouring Shopian district including Choudrigund, Trapadpora, Padguchi and Chotigam villages.

Avinash Bhat, a resident of Choudrigund also said that they illuminated their houses and temples and performed Puja while children burnt firecrackers.

He said that they were flooded with the greeting messages from their Muslim friends. 

"The amity between the two religious communities is always on display during such occasions,” Bhat said with a glow on his face.

 

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