Amid the atmosphere of communal disharmony in Maharashtra's Amravati the past few days, the Muslim youth in the area showcased unity by protecting the Shiva temple located in a Muslim-dominated area.
The youth also came together to protect a dargah from mobs in Habib Nagar.
Riots had broken out at a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-sponsored bandh in Amravati, during which shops were vandalised and four vehicles were reportedly torched.
The BJP had called the bandh to protest against the violence that broke out in Nashik, Amravati, and Nanded on 12 November amid statewide demonstrations and rallies by Raza Academy and other Muslim organisations.
In Pathan Chowk, a confrontation between two mobs resulted in stone-pelting from both sides. Some stones were pelted at the Mahadev temple. However, a group of Muslim youth formed a human chain to protect the temple.
A resident of the area, Shakeel Ahmed stated,
A temple should not be harmed and violence should not be instigated in a Muslim-dominated area, will be a good message to send in our society. This is why we protected the temple.
He added that for the last three days, they have been staying up all night to stand guard to the temple.
Meanwhile, one elderly person in the area, Hafiz Naseem, said, "The atmosphere in Amravati has not been worse. Hindus and Muslims have lived peacefully for years. There are temples in many Muslim areas and dargahs in Hindu areas, but there has never been such a riot."
He said that some protesters had marched at the dargah in Habib Nagar. However, Hindu and Muslim youth came together to protect them from harming the Muslim place of worship.
Reiterating the unity among the youth, Naresh Sharma said that his place of worship, a hundred-year-old temple in Habibganj, was untouched even amid the Ayodhya-Babri masjid riots.
"Amravati has always maintained harmony," he added.