SIO Comes Forward to Help the Needy Amid Corona Lockdown

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SIO volunteers distributing food kits in Madhya Pradesh

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Amid the starvation following the Coronavirus lockdown, the Student Islamic Organisation (SIO) has come forward to help the needy. Its volunteers and cadres are working in 24 states across India, distributing cooked food, ration and medical kits.

The sudden and complete lockdown enforced by the central government in view of the Coronavirus outbreak left the poor to starve. Hardly any relief is forthcoming from the state and the Centre, despite the promises that are made in public. Migrant workers are stranded in cities or are walking long distances to reach back their homes. In this backdrop, many civil groups like the SIO have come forward to help the poor.

General secretary of the SIO, Syed Azharuddin, told Clarion India that his organization is running around 1,000 helpline centres for the needy in small towns and villages. Some 10,000 of its volunteers are engaged in the relief work. They are working from March 25, two days after the complete lockdown. So far, they have distributed kits containing ration for one month to around 25,000 families. They are also distributing medical kits which also contain sanitizers.

“Apart from these, temporary arrangements of stay and food were made for around 10,000 students and youths who got stranded due to the sudden lockdown. There are labourers too among them. Most of the labourers are from Bihar and Bengal. They are lodged at various camps with sufficient help in terms of food and accommodation,” said Azharuddin.

He said migrant workers walking long distances were also provided relief by his organization. They are also visiting the slum areas and taking surveys to ascertain the needs. They help them where they can. Where they are not able to extend any help, they inform the local authorities about the requirements.

He said the people are not getting any relief from the government. Whatever the announcements were made by the state governments remained as announcements. The governments did not start the relief work on the ground.

“I have visited a slum area in Warangal where 600 daily workers live. They said that they did not receive any support from the government. We talked to the local corporator. He said he is also waiting for the ration. When it will reach, we will distribute it,” Azharuddin said, adding that 40 per cent of the population of Telangana’s Warangal lived in slum areas. He said that they have visited only two or three slum areas in Warangal.

SIO cadres distributing ration kits in Tamil Nadu, Tirupur

“You can make a guess on the seriousness of the political class by an incident in Bihar. As government help is not forthcoming, some MLAs made a call to the SIO Bihar president Tahoor Anwar for relief work.”

SIO Bihar has also been doing relief work in Bihar. They have appealed to the Muslims to give zakat (charity) before the holy month of Ramazan as thousands of labourers and daily wagers are suffering due to the lockdown. The SIO has been collaborating in the relief works with its parent organization Jamaat-e-Islami Hind at some places.

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