Meet the Muslim heroes helping Goa’s underprivileged

Goa: The increase in Covid19 cases is wreaking havoc in India with about 1251 confirmed cases as on March 31. While Maharashtra grapples with one of the highest number of positive cases in the country, neighboring Goa has also registered five positive cases as some suspects are reportedly quarantined under medical supervision.

There can be no more overlooking the fact that a major share of the nation’s working population are daily wage laborers who have now started suffering more due to the 21 days lockdown than the dangers of contracting the disease. Fear, uncertainty and hunger has led this weaker section to now walk on foot in the absence of transport facilities as they lay stranded miles away from their home states. While there can be no proper planning seen from the government’s sides, it is a ray of hope from civil societies and individuals who are taking the lead in caring for the needs of these weaker sections at such an hour of distress. These heroes, who feel the pain of the workers in unorganized sectors are collaborating sources and coming forward to provide basic meals and necessities to the poor.

“I am doing this for the sake of Allah,” says one such hero, 33-years-old Sarfaraz who is a social activist and member of Valpoi Municipal Council. Sarfaraz Sayed from Goa has set an example before more influential personalities sitting silent at this time by identifying a cluster of about 200 migrant laborers employed across north India where along with his team, are working day and night to provide basic meals. Sarfaraz is on duty voluntarily since day 1 of the lockdown, extending help and support tirelessly to the residents of his town by distributing meals to daily wage workers. In order to keep the infection from spreading for these workers – many of whom are homeless or are away from their home towns – his team has sealed an entire block meanwhile providing all the essential commodities to the residents at their door step.

“We should not forget our poor neighbors and other marginalized as have no sources and money to feed themselves and their family members,” he said, speaking with Twocircles.net. Sarfaraz opines that since this has emerged as a global pandemic, it is a threat to the whole humanity and it is in fact, the responsibility of all the citizens to together fight against the disease. “I am thankful to him for helping my family and making essential commodities available and taking care of working class,” said Mohammad Ibrahim, a beneficiary of Sarfaraz’s free meals programme.

In the same state, another cluster of about 400 families, of whom 40per cent are migrant laborers, are being provided meals, shelter and other essentials by a team of 40 youths who are on their toes since March 15, delivering services 24 hours. “Our schedule is hectic and our distribution work is risky during this time but we are satisfied that Allah has chosen us to serve humans,” expressed a jubilant Saddam Shaikh who is volunteering to serve daily meals to the daily wage laborers. He added that the Deputy Collector and Municipal Councils, in association with the local police have issued passes to these volunteers for allowing them to fetch groceries for distribution.

“Our team personally visits him or her and sends them to quarantine for further medical observations,” said Akib Shaikh, a health care worker from the community health centre. Akib and his team are also frontliners in the country’s Corona battle. Visibly stressed, he refused to talk much about his duties and informed that since past 15 days they are keeping a strict eye on travelers who have come from other states or countries. When asked about government involvement in extending help to the poor, these heroes at the time of Corona distress expressed that as responsible citizens we must all strictly follow guidelines issues by both Central and State governments, adding that the health minister of Goa is doing a fantastic job to control the Covid19 outbreak.

A known social activist from the town Zubair Aga praised Akib and Sarfaraz’s nonstop contribution in this huge countrywide crisis. He added that these are real leaders devoting themselves to humanitarian causes as a real warrior. All praises for the health care workers, delivery service agents, and others, Zubair said, “We salute all of them who are doing commendable jobs even in such unfavorable circumstances.”

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