Kerala temple stops pujas for two days to mourn Muslim beaten to death

Following Shabeer’s death, the temple has also decided to abandon the “annadanam” and the traditional procession for the 10-day festival starting February 9.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: February 5, 2016 4:20 pm
Shabeer was actively involved with temple. Shabeer was actively involved with temple.

It’s a rare tribute that is drawing as much attention as the tragedy that led to it. A temple in Kerala stopped offering pujas for two days this week to mourn a 23-year-old Muslim man who was beaten to death in an incident that was captured by an eyewitness in a video clip that went viral.

M V Shabeer, 23, was a member of the executive committee that organises the annual festival at the Shiva temple at Puthennada near Attingal in Thiruvananthapuram district. According to police, he was beaten to death on Sunday afternoon by four men following a dispute over an elephant running amok during the festival last year.

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On Monday and Tuesday, the Shiva temple’s office-bearers decided not to blow the conch or ring the bell as a mark of respect for Shabeer. The temple, which holds five pujas a day, did not offer them on those 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.

“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,” said Unni.

Following Shabeer’s death, the temple has also decided to abandon the “annadanam” and the traditional procession for the 10-day festival starting 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.

“Since the priest wanted the temple to be opened, we did so on Monday and Tuesday but suspended the pujas. There was no blowing of the conch or the ringing of bells in those days. In the evenings too, the temple opened but did not offer any puja,” added Chandra.

He said the committee has decided to abandon the “annadanam” and procession in the wake of Shabeer’s death.

According to local residents, Shabeer had been struggling to provide for his family — a mother and two younger brothers, both students — after his father abandoned them years ago. He even abandoned his degree course to work as a construction worker.

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.

According to police, the dispute that led to the lethal assault arose last year after the four youths were arrested for provoking the elephant by pricking its tail with a needle as it led the procession past another temple nearby they were linked to.

Shabeer witnessed the incident and deposed against the four, police said.

The “grudge” led to a few fights between the two sides with Shabeer’s name being linked to a petty criminal case, they said.

The Puthennada temple, which is owned by ten families and managed by a trust, was consecrated by the early 20th-century social reformer Sree Narayana Guru, who preached the concept of one caste, one religion and one god.

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  1. A
    Aap
    Feb 5, 2016 at 2:10 am
    There is a crime and law will takes its place. But natural friends ociates and families always suffer and mourn. Why give it a religion angle. The point is very clear that majority will maintain friendship and values irrespective of all the efforts by hate spreaders.
    Reply
    1. B
      Babu
      Feb 5, 2016 at 1:51 am
      This sort of harmony is not good for brahminism. Helo brahmins, raise your LATHIS given by RSS.
      Reply
      1. H
        Harry Achari
        Feb 5, 2016 at 6:29 pm
        Sabeer is reportedly a great boy who is taking care his family left behind by father. He has two younger brothers who are studying. This young man has left his college to earn money doing construction works to feed his family. Those killers are most probably some CPM ( I guess) members sent by some ISI agents. Condolence for that great Saul.
        Reply
        1. K
          khan
          Feb 5, 2016 at 1:30 pm
          Wow is India on verge of disintegration
          Reply
          1. M
            MyTake
            Feb 5, 2016 at 2:59 am
            Very sad a to see such things to happen to a good human being. May God help the family to overcome the loss. God surely will provide a good destination to such a nice soul.
            Reply
            1. F
              Fixer
              Feb 5, 2016 at 8:41 am
              Two thumbs up for temple authorities. I'm a modi supporter.
              Reply
              1. S
                Swa
                Feb 5, 2016 at 3:46 am
                Where are we heading? God please take care of this wonderful human being's family. Extremely disturbing.
                Reply
                1. T
                  T
                  Feb 5, 2016 at 6:10 am
                  Should we call this 'Patriotism' ??
                  Reply
                  1. M
                    Mavala
                    Feb 5, 2016 at 5:25 am
                    Comment Comment 2
                    Reply
                    1. A
                      akshat
                      Feb 6, 2016 at 2:44 am
                      god has left the world long time ago - its time people realised and woke up
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        Ananth
                        Feb 5, 2016 at 12:06 pm
                        Who were the people who murdered him. No mention in the article?
                        Reply
                        1. R
                          Rudram
                          Feb 5, 2016 at 7:26 am
                          Condolences to Shabeer's family. The relationship between the temple and Mr Shabeer is an example all of India needs to follow. Tolerance, broadminded acceptance and mutual respect. Truly wonderful role model of inter-religious harmony and respect. Hope the temple chiefs help Shabeer's family in any way they can. Maybe a goFundShabeer page?
                          Reply
                          1. A
                            arc
                            Feb 5, 2016 at 6:37 am
                            What a hindu temple honouring a Muslim? I bet chaddiwalas will descend in hordes to rectify this antinational act. Some murders will follow, some shops burnt. And there will be celebrations in Nagpur.
                            Reply
                            1. P
                              Parambharti
                              Feb 5, 2016 at 1:30 am
                              Good to know pooja suspended, this is a direct attack on judiciary of India? Now the high Court of Kerala must Write to DGP Kerala for the culprits to arrested and produced in Court asap
                              Reply
                              1. R
                                Raj
                                Feb 5, 2016 at 6:41 am
                                If people of Kerala vote for BJP all of this brotherhood will vanish. Condolences to Shabeer's family
                                Reply
                                1. B
                                  Biltu
                                  Feb 5, 2016 at 11:31 am
                                  IN NOT DOING THIS POOJA IS THE GREATEST POOJA. ALSO IF TEMPLE ELEPHANTS WERE FREED THAT WOULD BE MAHA POOJA.
                                  Reply
                                  1. B
                                    bitterhoney
                                    Feb 5, 2016 at 11:02 am
                                    You are not a Modi supporter, had you been a Modi supporter you would have raised objection.
                                    Reply
                                    1. C
                                      cvkumar
                                      Feb 5, 2016 at 7:28 am
                                      No one deserve to die like that and it's a crime and criminals should get capital punishment as early as possible. They do not have any right to take other man's life. There is no waiting time for the trial and judges are also watching!! Should get capital punishment to all.
                                      Reply
                                      1. D
                                        Dipumon
                                        Feb 5, 2016 at 6:54 am
                                        Many of the North Indians do not understand the cultral situation in South India in common and Kerala in particular. Many of them think India means North India, Indian filim means Hindi filims, Indian language means Hindi, Indian food means North Indian food, Indian Culture means North Indian Culture, Indian politics means North Indian politics.
                                        Reply
                                        1. D
                                          Derp
                                          Feb 5, 2016 at 4:55 am
                                          A previous life lost. Only his will bear the loss for a long time. Was a symbol of harmony. Rip
                                          Reply
                                          1. S
                                            Sreenivasan
                                            Feb 5, 2016 at 6:00 am
                                            One Cast, One Religion, One God for all. One Cast = Humanism One Religion = Humanity, One God : Yourself. This must be the goal for a peaceful society all over the world.
                                            Reply
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