Hindu-majority village in Bhaderwah sets example, elects head of only Muslim family as panch

Hindu-majority village in Bhaderwah sets example, elects head of only Muslim family as panch

Chowdhary Mohammad Hussain (54), a Gujjar from a family of cattle rearers, has become the Panch of Bhelan-Kharothi village of Hanga Panchayat, 10 kms west of Bhaderwah town.

Setting an example of communal harmony, a small village dominated by Hindus in Bhaderwah area of Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir has elected the head of only Muslim family as its panch in the ongoing Panchayat polls.

Chowdhary Mohammad Hussain (54), a Gujjar from a family of cattle rearers, has become the Panch of Bhelan-Kharothi village of Hanga Panchayat, 10 kms west of Bhaderwah town.

Hussain’s is the only Muslim family in the 450-odd residents of the village. He is living with his wife, five sons and a daughter-in-law and has married off all his four daughters.

“This may seem bizarre in a polarised and communally driven society today, but we take pride in our shared brotherhood," said a local resident, Duni Chand (57).

The unanimous decision of the villagers has not only made Hussain emotional but upbeat to work round-the-clock for the welfare of the villagers.

"We have been living in complete harmony and they never let me feel that I am the only Muslim living in their village and by making me their Panch that too unopposed has taken their love and faith to a different level, for which I will be indebted to them for the rest of my life," said Hussain.

He said he would not only try his best to live upto their expectations but would surely go an extra mile to do whatever possible.

“This is the only way, I can repay their favour," he said.

Panchayat Hanga of Bhadarwah block went to polls in the 7th phase of the ongoing nine-phased Panchayat elections of Jammu and Kashmir.