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12:00 AM, October 18, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:19 PM, October 18, 2020

The mosque of harmony

Old common prayer site binds two villages of Bangladesh, India

The Partition in 1947 could not keep them apart.

Inhabitants of two bordering villages in Bangladesh and India have co-existed in peace for decades now.

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They have long-standing ties and a common site of prayer where they regularly gather to observe religious traditions and festivals.

It is an old mosque which is the root of such example-setting harmony between the people of the two countries, said locals.

The two-century-old mosque is located in Banshjani village under Bhurungamari upazila of Kurigram district, near the zero line of the northern Bangladesh-India border.

The mosque's north side faces Jhakuatari village in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal in India.

People of both the villages offer their prayers at the semi-pucca mosque, which is built on around 15 decimals of land.

"Muslims of both villages come together in the mosque to offer prayers every day. After prayers, they exchange greetings. It is not possible to understand that they are citizens of different countries," said Nazrul Miah, 62, a resident of Banshjani and muazzin of the mosque.

Another Banshjani villager Jahangir Alam, 32, said, "People from different districts of both Bangladesh and India come to visit our mosque to see our unique bond."

The mosque is particularly vibrant on Fridays as a large number of people from both villages come there to offer Juma prayers, said Abu Bakkar Siddique, 45, another villager.

"We don't have any divisions between us. We are living here year after year, sharing our joys and sorrows and helping each other," said Indian citizen Khaybar Ali, 79, a resident of Jhakuatari village.

He also demanded initiatives to renovate the mosque.

Currently, there are legal complexities over constructing any infrastructure adjacent to the border but necessary steps should be taken through the officials concerned of both countries to renovate the mosque, he added.

Indian national Ahmed Ali, 67, of Jhakuatari village, said, "We don't violate the rules and never cross the barbed wire fence to enter into Bangladesh.

"We only use the border road to go to the mosque. After offering prayers and exchanging greetings, we return to our village in India."

Contacted, Humayun Kabir Mithu, chairman of Pathordubi Union Parishad in Bhurungamari, said, "People of both the villages are relatives of each other. After the Partition in 1947, some of them are now Indian citizens and some are Bangladeshis.

"All of them share the same culture, tradition, and lifestyle. Even the border forces of both the countries have never made any trouble with this issue."


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