Lockdown Brings Out Good Samaritans from Among Bhopal Muslims

Volunteers preparing food packets for distribution.

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Bhopal unit is in the forefront of the campaign providing relief worth Rs.62,16,498 to countrymen affected by the lockdown.

Pervez Bari | Clarion India

BHOPAL – The scourge of Covid-19 pandemic which has literally brought the world to a standstill and pinned down humanity with lockdowns has a silver lining. Many NGOs, social organisations and few individuals feeling the pain of stranded migrant workers and underprivileged sections of the society have come forward to feed their hunger.

As elsewhere in the country in Bhopal too these Good Samaritans are leaving no stone unturned to see that no one is left out. There is a healthy competition among them to reach out to more and more people and hand them cooked food packets and in some cases kits of grocery items with some cash for a week, 10 days or even a month. The beneficiaries are mostly daily wagers, migrant workers, destitute, beggars etc.

In various locations of Bhopal and its outskirts, a total of 91 kitchens are operational feeding thousands amidst lockdown in the city. It is heartening to see that Muslim volunteers are excelling in service to humanity. They are competing with each other to seek blessings of the Almighty in the holy month of Ramadan.

Arif Masood, a local MLA, is funding 14 kitchens in various localities of the city run by his fans club. Cooked food is being distributed among nearly 18-20,000 people irrespective of the caste, creed or religion on daily.

Arif Aqueel, another MLA who represents Bhopal North constituency, is not far behind. He is extending all help to the needy to fight the lockdown along with the Coronavirus pandemic. Mohammad Ahsan Imtiaz, a retired Indian Navy personnel residing in Khanugaon, a semi-urban area of the city, is funding ration for the have-nots of the locality by authorising a grocery merchant to provide necessary items every week to the people who approach him.

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, (JIH), Bhopal unit is in the forefront of the campaign providing relief worth Rs.62,16,498 to countrymen affected by the lockdown. The details of the relief are: Daily 10,000 cooked food packets, 2,150 Ramadan ration kits and 21,300 Kg wheat and rice having been distributed to the needy people. These statistics were shared by Shakeel Khan, In-charge of JIH, Bhopal Unit.

In Bagh Farhat Afza Colony under ward 41 of the city, under the leadership of Qazi Asifuddin, cooked food is being delivered at homes of the underprivileged for one-and-a-half month.

Meanwhile, a newly formed NGO christened as “Humble Heart” led by Zenul Khan came into existence soon after the lockdown was announced a mission to feed the hungry mouths.

Afreen Khan, an associate of Humble Heart, says: “With Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown that followed, we realised that we may not be getting affected by hunger during this time of despair. However, there are so many people out there who may not have eaten a proper meal in the last few days. These are the daily wage earners who lost their livelihood and now have no means to survive. With that in mind we started a chain to feed destitute and to supply ration to poor families. Many people with the helping heart have joined our cause and are now helping at various stages like cooking, food packaging, food distribution etc.”

The Humble Heart has so far provided 12,213 food packets, 2,594 vegetable packets and 2,425 ration packets to the needy. The group is also feeding 50 plus street dogs and 20 plus cows daily.

Apart from Zenul Khan and Afreen Khan, the other associates of Humble Heart include Yasir Farooqi, Yawar Khan, Kaif Azhar and Hassan Ali Khan.

Another voluntary organisation known as “Helpbox” has initiated “Donate one meal” campaign wherein Bhopalis can feed one hungry for a day, a week, or throughout the month, depending upon their paying capacity.

Sunil Awsarkar, brand ambassador of Helpbox, said: “As part of the campaign, we request people to prepare food for one person, with five-six rotis, a bowl of rice, daal (pulses), and some vegetable curry, and donate it to a poor they see around their house, or delver the packet to Helpbox, so that we can give it to the needy. Many people have responded to the call and happily started in this campaign as preparing for one extra person does not upset their budget”.

The Bhopal Food Lovers’ group is famous for its potluck events across the city. But when the time came, the members didn’t even think twice before venturing to help out the people in need. A member of the group converted his commercial kitchen into a community kitchen and since then the members are feeding more than 300 needy citizens of the city.

A member of the group, Prabdeep Singh, said: “We have been cooking along with the staff of the hotel. We have purchased rice which will last till the designated lockdown period and have been making dishes like Khichdi and Tomato rice. To avoid contact with many people we have collaborated with the nearest police station that come and pick up our food packets and distribute. If someone contacts us, we increase the quantity of the packets as well.”

Madhya Pradesh Samaj Seva Sanstha, in collaboration with Bhopal School of Social Sciences (BSSS) and Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC), is running a campaign to cut the chain of Covd-19 and care the needy. As part of the campaign, dry ration kits are distributed to most vulnerable families on the outskirts of Bhopal. The families of migrant construction labourers numbering few thousand, who hail from different parts of the country, are residing in various construction sites and labour camps also received dry ration kits. Mapping of these families were jointly done by BMC and BSSS.

A community kitchen has also been set up in the premises of Ayyappa temple in Bairagarh Township on the outskirt of Bhopal. The kitchen is distributing 2000 packets of food through Bhopal Municipal Corporation in the areas earmarked by the District administration.



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