VARANASI (Uttar Pradesh): The Muslims in Varanasi have joined hands with the Hindus to prevent the slaughter of cows.
The cow is considered holy and is worshipped by the Hindus, who make up some 82 per cent of India'sover one billion-strong population.
Not only this, Muslim clerics have also pledged their support for a campaign to clean the holy River Ganges. There is a popular belief among the Hindus that bathing in the Ganges washes away their sins.
?When Muslims will unanimously step forward with sincerity and honesty, and when Hindus cooperate, there can be lasting harmony between the two religions in this country. This issue will be resolved. There will be a bonding between hearts. For this, we decided to dedicate our lives to prevent cow slaughter and the pollution of the Ganga. We will win over our Hindu brethren and save this country,? said Muhammad Khalid Jahaan, a Muslim cleric from Bareilly.
Recently, both Muslim clerics and Hindu seers attended the Ganga Mahasabha (conference) in Varanasi to mull over steps to be taken to end cow slaughter.
Cow slaughter is a sensitive issue in India, often provoking communal violence.
Even more pressing is the problem of pollution of the Ganga. Leaders of the Ganga Mahasabha said they welcomed the support of the Muslim community in their bid to clean up the river.
?They (Muslims) too are the children of this soil. They have shown their respect for our faith. They are doing their duty as true citizens of India. For this, we express our heartfelt gratitude,? said General Secretary of the Ganga Mahasabha, Bagesh Dutt Mishra.
Experts say pollution causes a number of diseases like hepatitis, amoebic dysentery, typhoid, cholera and cancer, thus endangering the life of people living along the Ganga.
World Health Organisation says at present, an estimated 114 cities spew filth into the Ganga, resulting in the death of one person every minute due to diarrhoea in the river basin.
According to reports, 400 million people live in the Ganga river basin and depend on it for their lives.
Less than half of the grossly polluting industrial units lining the 2,500 km (1,560-mile) river have installed effluent treatment plants, and over 18 per cent of them do not function properly.
Billions of rupees have been spent on an action plan to clean the river.