Muslim clerics have come out in a big way to fight against polio in Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh.
Health authorities say Muslims are apprehensive about administering polio drops to children because of some unfounded concerns. They used an annual religious procession to convey messages on polio eradication with the help of banners and exhorted people to join the fight against the scourge.
The procession was named as 'Saabri Jhanda Jalus ir'.
"We are praying that our country will be safe from militancy, and there would be peace and our children would no more affect from polio. We are moving from one place to another, since moving from one place to another and spreading such messages is a Sunnah (the way of the Prophet Muhammad), in our religion," Sharifullah Khan Sabri, a cleric.
Scores of devotees in the procession carried banners urging people to participate in polio eradication programme.
Devotees said they liked the new approach.
"This religious procession is not solely meant for polio eradication. But if our campaign contributes something for, then it is fine," said Idrees, a devotee.
Polio, which is incurable, leads to irreversible paralysis. Death occurs in about five to ten per cent of paralyzed patients when their breathing muscles are immobilized.
The infectious illness has been eliminated in developed nations but India's efforts to become polio-free have met with a setback in recent years.
It has also been found in recent studies that despite good immunization coverage in northern India, the virus has been persistent due to overcrowded living conditions and poor sanitation.