Chennai: At a time when daily reports of violence during protests have rocked India, a demonstration against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act became an exhibition of religious unity in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore as Muslim protesters stood back amid the evening Namaz to make way for Lord Ayyappa devotees enroute to Sabarimala on Friday.
In video footage, which went viral on Saturday, Muslim protesters can be seen leading four Ayyappa devotees carrying the ‘irumudi’ (the traditional bundle a devotee brings to the shrine) in the thick of the crowd in the middle of the evening namaz.
The gathering was organised by Coimbatore District Federation of All Jamaath and Islamic Organisations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act at the Pallakad-Pollachi road in Coimbatore. Over 15,000 people turned up for the protest.
As the sun set, demonstrators prostrated for the evening namaz and traffic came to a standstill, following which, the Ayyappa devotees, who had breezed in, were stranded. Soon, a volunteer from the gathering decided to lead the devotees through the crowd.
Following the public meeting organised by Coimbatore District Federation of All Jamaath and Islamic Organisations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act at Aathupalam Junction in the city on Friday, a video of the Muslim protesters making way for four Ayyappa devotees has surfaced.
In another incident, student protesters smeared their foreheads with sacred ash to convey a message of religious harmony and to dispel tropes that demonstrators can be identified based on clothes.
Protests have significantly intensified across Tamil Nadu, especially in Coimbatore, demanding unconditional withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.
Violence during protests in Uttar Pradesh has so far claimed 16 lives in Uttar Pradesh, while large-scale vandalism and disruption of rail and road traffic were witnessed in Bihar during a bandh called by the RJD yesterday.
In Mangalore, two protesters were killed on Friday in police firing during protests. Besides, at least four people have died Citizenship Amendment Act-related protests in Assam.