Religious fervor, gaiety mark Dussehra in J&K

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Jammu, Oct 21 (UNI) Vijay Dashmi, the day signifying victorious end after ten-day campaign of Lord Rama against depraved King Ravana, was today celebrated with religious fervor, gaiety and peace under an unprecedented security cover in Jammu and Kashmir. People from all walks of life exchanged greetings on Dussehra with friends and relatives.

The festivities ended with the people at many places setting ablaze the effigies of King Ravana, his brother Kumbhkarna and his son Inderjeet alias Meghnad as a mark of goodness prevailing upon evil.

With 'Dussehra', the 'Ram Lila' -- a stage performance based on the epic Ramayana -- being organised by various locally recognised groups also culminated.

Former Sadr-e-Riasat and Rajya Sabha Member Dr Karan Singh and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah were present in Dussehra function at the parade ground here.

An unprecedented security cover was put in place to ensure peaceful celebrations.

''Extra forces have been called in to ensure peaceful culmination of the festival looking at the terrorist threats'' a police officer said.

In the strife-torn Valley, the effigies of Ravana and his aides were burnt by Kashmiri Pandits at Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium in Srinagar, after nearly two decades, a UNI correspondent at the summer capital of the state reported .

''Our Muslim brethren highly encouraged us to continue such religious functions. Shoba yatra was taken out in Srinagar this September after nearly 18 years in a peaceful atmosphere.

As a mark of true brotherhood, hundreds of Muslims also joined the yatra,'' Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti president Sanjay K Tickoo has said in a statement at Srinagar.

Meanwhile, activists of Shiv Sena celebrated Dussehra here by burning the effigy of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi, in protest against his statement on Lord Rama that created heat in the entire country.

Terming Mr Karunanidhi as ''Kal Yug Ka Ravan'', the supporters of the Shiv Sena faction burnt his effigy at Jewel Chowk in the heart of the city this afternoon.

Shiv Sena's state president Dimple Kolhi said Mr Karunanidhi's statement on Shri Rama had hurt the sentiments of Hindus.

UNI

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