In a rare tribute, a temple in Kerala did not offer pujas for two days to honour the untimely death of one of its members, a Muslim man.
The 23-year-old M V Shabeer, who was a member of the executive committee of the temple festival, was beaten to death by four men over a dispute related to elephant running amok. Last year, at the annual festival organised by the Shiva temple at Puthennada in Thiruvananthapuram, four youth provoked an elephant that led to the procession creating ruckus. Shabeer, who witnessed the incident, reported this to police. The grudge then led to four men killing Shabeer.
In the wake of Shabeer’s death, the temple, which holds five pujas a day, did not offer them for 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. He adds:
“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.”
Following his death, the temple has also decided to not hold ‘annadanam’ and the traditional procession for the festival that will begin from 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. Panchayat member M Lalija, who represents the temple area, said Shabeer did not face any problem at his mosque for being associated with the festival.
It has been reported that Shabeer stopped studying and started working to support his family after his father abandoned them years ago.