Unperturbed by how the word ‘Jamaat’ has been vilified after members of the Tablighi Jamaat were accused of spreading the coronavirus, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has set up a 24-hour helpdesk on the Vidisha Bypass road on the outskirts of Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal where passing migrant labourers are being provided with food and other essentials. Jamaat-e-Islami volunteers have ensured food for those who are hungry, milk for children, shoes and slippers for those undertaking long, arduous journeys back home on foot and medicine for those who are sick.

India Today TV visited the helpdesk post-midnight on Monday and found a spirited team of Jamaat volunteers rushing towards every bus that passed with migrant labourers.

“This is not from any politician or any political party, this is not even help, you are us, so please accept these,” the volunteers could be seen appealing to migrant labourers as they offered them food, water, fruits, biscuits and milk.

Photo: India Today

“It is not just food and water, we have even bought sanitary pads for women who need them. These men, women and children are in distress, they just need human help,” a volunteer told India Today TV.

While many tired labourers took what they were offered from the bus windows, there were some who got overwhelmed with emotion and got down from the buses to express their gratitude.

“My friend and I started from Ahmedabad on foot three days back. On the way, we met both the good and the bad. Some truck drivers took pity on us and offered us lift but we were also robbed of the little money that we had. We reached Bhopal and here these people gave us food. We are from West Bengal and these people have now promised us that they will put us on a train to Bihar from where we will go home,” Mohammad Akram, a migrant labourer told India Today TV.

Photo: India Today

Shakeel Bhai, the man behind mobilising the humanitarian assistance said, “We have to look at these people with sympathy, they are us, they are from our neighbouring states and how can we sleep peacefully if our neighbours starve?”

“The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has been running five community kitchens in the city for the past one month and close to 10,000 food packets are distributed among the poor every day,” Shakeel added.

“The Jamaat is mobilising efforts but I can proudly say that donations have come from members of all religions. No one spreads any disease on purpose and even if some of these people are carrying the infection they need to be embraced,” Shakeel said.

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