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Kashmir Church to Reinstall Bells, Other Faiths Join Hands

Monday, November 6, 2017, 16:04 (IST)

Reinstalling a church bell in a 121-year-old Catholic church has become a joyful social event in Jammu and Kashmir on Oct. 29.

After 50 years, the in the Holy Family Church located in the capital city of Srinagar, received a new bell weighing at 105 kilograms—the largest bell in the city.

Muslim, Hindu, Sikh community members joined hands with Christians for the reinstallation. It added a social dimension to the event, amid the history of religious violence in the city.

"Continuing with Kashmir's pluralistic ethos, an inter-religious ceremony is being planned for the historic occasion, where representatives of all major faiths — Muslim, Hindu and Sikh — will be present on the occasion with their Christian brethren and jointly ring the new bell for the first time," said S. M. Rath, spokesman of the Church Committee.

"We want everyone to join us in this happy occasion. That is why we are giving the privilege to one member of each community to join our priest," Rath added, according to DNA.

The British-era Church was built in 1896. It suffered a serious damage in an arson incident in 1967, which also led to the destruction of the bells.

"Traditionally, a church bell is used to call worshipers to the church for a prayer service and announcing the time of daily prayer, something analogous to the Islamic tradition of azaan from a minaret. They are also rung on special occasions such as a wedding or a funeral service," said Rath.

"There are about 30 Christian families — both Catholics and Protestants — living in Srinagar. There are five churches in Kashmir, of which regular prayers services are being held in three Churches," he added.