Coronavirus Pandemic

India Covid crisis: Minority youths help alleviate sufferings of coronavirus patients

Aftab H. Kola/Bengaluru
Filed on May 26, 2021
Photo: Supplied

The role played by them in supplementing official efforts have been acknowledged by the government and general public alike.

With the second Covid wave crippling India’s health infrastructure and hospitals across the country brimming with Covid-19 patients, religious institutions as well as community centres have been offering their spaces for accommodating patients for primary care treatment. Some of these facilities have also been functioning as oxygen supply centres.

Muslim organisations have been at the forefront in this endeavour. They have been winning plaudits for rendering assistance to patients — be it in procuring oxygen, ferrying patients to hospitals, helping cremate or bury the dead, or setting up care facilities wherever required.


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The shortage of beds in hospitals and lack of proper home care for asymptomatic-to-mild Covid patients, and shortage of oxygen have led to people from across all communities setting up Covid care centres and oxygen centres and providing other Covid-related support all over India.

The role played by such organisations in supplementing official efforts have been acknowledged by the government and the general public alike.

Though places like New Delhi, Mumbai, Vadodara, Lucknow, Kolkata, Thrissur are some of the cities where Covid-19 care centres and oxygen banks have come up, it is Bengaluru that has shown the world how community resources and talent could be effectively utilised on a war footing in times of a crisis. The Covid-19 Care Centre jointly run by Shihab Thangal Centre for Humanity (an NGO under All India Muslim Cultural Centre), and the Eidgah Masjid Quidmath Committee, Jayanagar fourth block, Bengaluru, is one such facility that has come as a boon to Covid patients.

The centre, set up in a madrassa hall attached to a mosque, serves as a step-down hospital with oxygenated beds, and is attached to SAFA Medicure Hospital. The 38-bed centre has three full-time doctors and eight nursing staff, and treats patients free of cost.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Narghees Fathima, a recovered Covid-19 patient from BTM Layout, was all praise for the facilities being provided at this centre. Dr Amer Ali of the centre said that it admits patients of all faiths without any discrimination.

Lauding the services being rendered by the community people in setting up Covid-19 care centres and engaging in supply of oxygen cylinders, Bengaluru-based Professor Dr K. Puttaraju, a well-known political and media analyst, said: “Only in times of crisis we will see the humane side of people.

“I was recently moved by the risks taken by a Muslim gentleman who had travelled all the way to Allahabad from Madhya Pradesh to conduct the last rites of his Hindu friend, a prominent legal personality in the city who had died uncared for. Muslim organisations in Bengaluru and elsewhere deserve all praise for the work they are engaged in to help Covid patients.”

Exuding hope that the efforts of these individuals and organisations would help patients recover fast, Maulana Maqsood Imran Rashadi, Imam of Jama Masjid in Bengaluru, said: “It is indeed keeping the spirit of humanity alive in the city. The picture of humanity blooming in times of a crisis will go a long way to building a united India based on love and harmony.”

NGOs are chipping in with free oxygen cylinders. The oxygen crisis has led to several organisations working towards supplying the much-needed oxygen. Mercy Mission and its sister initiative, Mercy Angels, a network of NGOs, is operating helplines, organising oxygen, beds, food and even cremating/burying Covid patients.

Ameer e Mudassar, co-founder of the Emergency Response Team, (which works with close to 200 volunteers and responds to distress calls) and Covid Helpline Bengaluru, said: “My phone is full of messages seeking help. We have been doing the job without any discrimination and consider it a humanitarian duty.” He says he is also part of the Mercy Mission.

For volunteers of Oxygen Helpline set up at Quddus Sab Eidgah on Nandidurg Road, Bengaluru, and run under the Jumma Masjid Trust Board along with the Islamic Information Centre and other NGOs, it is a busy schedule every day as they keep supplying oxygen cylinders to different places across the city.


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According to Sabeel Nazir, trustee of Nasih Trust, Bengaluru: “The Naasih Trust has been providing free medicines to the needy and poor patients for a long time. It has also been at the forefront since the first wave by arranging ration kits, free oxygen cylinders, help clear hospital bills, etc of economically disadvantaged people across all communities.”

There are also other organisations like the Humanitarian Relief Society of Jamate Islami Hind (Karnataka), Naasih Foundation, Wish Foundation, AIMIM Free Oxygen 24x7 service, Al Amity Foundation, and an army of youngsters spread across the expansive city who are engaged in helping Covid patients 24x7.

Many such organisations in Karnataka have been lending a helping hand to all those in need across India. The services being rendered by youths, who have been doing immense work, serve as a beacon of hope in these dark times of the pandemic.

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