Hindus praise Jamaat for flood relief in BiharOctober 20th, 2008 - 11:41 am ICT by IANS
Araria (Bihar), Oct 20 (IANS) Hardev Dom and Chandara Bishnor had to literally rummage for food to stay alive after this district was hit by floods in the Kosi river. But thanks to the yeoman service rendered by the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, a Muslim organisation, they were not only given relief but also participated in Dussehra festivities.”Forget Dussehra, we did not have enough food to eat. We can never forget the work Jamaat did in our village,” says Chandara Bishnor.
At a time when distrust and suspicion among communities is running high, many Hindus in Bihar have only words of love and praise for the Jamaat that has been working to bring succour to those rendered homeless by the floods that began in August and went on till September.
Even Misri Lal, the village head, fondly recounts the Jamaat’s help.
Thousands of gift packets were distributed among the flood victims which included new clothes, sweets and ‘tuhari’ (a small amount given to children during festivals). And most of these were distributed in Purnea, Araria, Saharsa, Supaul and Madhepura districts.
“While Hindus were celebrating the Dussehra festival across the country, thousands here suffered as their houses were destroyed or they had lost all their belongings. We distributed these kits to over 1,000 Hindu families so that they could celebrate the festival with happiness,” said Ejaz Ahmad Aslam, secretary of the Jamaat.
A central team of the Jamaat headed by its vice-president, Siddique Hassan, and Aslam along with doctors and relief workers conducted an extensive tour of the flood-devastated districts.
A relief team headed by Qamarul Hoda and Haji Nayaruzaman was set up and was specifically told not to discriminate among people on religious or caste lines while distributing relief.
“During Eid we also distributed kits among Muslim families that contained new clothes and food items just like we gave these packets to Hindus for Dussehra, particularly children staying in relief camps,” says Hoda.
The Jamaat began its relief work on the second day after the Kosi wrought havoc on the state. It set up a dozen relief camps with facilities for food, medical help and clothing. Around 3,000 flood victims are still living in these camps.
(Andalib Akhter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)