Bajrang dal activists help Muslim couple find home

published on September 19, 2007

It’s almost like a lesson in national integration taught in school.

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When Raveena Khatoon and her ailing husband Md Safdar Ansari fell on hard times and were forced to live on the streets, the vendors in the locality put them up at a Durga Puja mandap. Most of them are Hindus, and some are even Bajrang Dal activists.

For a while, Raveena, her husband and their three children stayed outside Katrasgarh railway station. But soon, the vendors of the area decided a railway station was no place for a family to live.

So, they got together and with the members of the Goods Shed Durga Puja Committee, set up a place for the family within the sanctified confines of a Durga mandap close by.

“It’s like a homecoming for me. After staying on platforms to pavements, I have finally found a home, thanks to my Hindu brothers. That they showed the courage to put us up at a place that is considered sacred speaks volumes about their humanity,” Raveena told HT.

Puja committee member Arun Kumar said: “Durga Puja, after all, is in praise of divinity, and divinity is another name for humanity. They needed help and we just offered them a place to stay,” he said.

Viplav Dey, a Bajrang Dal volunteer pointed out that Dal members had even donated blood to Raveena’s husband, when he was sick. “Most shopkeepers in this Hindu-dominated locality are Bajrang Dal sympathisers, but they too have come forward to help the distressed family,” he said.

But what will happen when the Durga Puja festivities begin? “Snack seller Prakash Ram and tea vendor Debu have decided they will take the family to their homes,” Dey said.

Residents of the Railway Colony, next to the Durga Mandap offer food to Raveena’s daughter Roshni. And every evening, before the vendors at the station go home, they make sure Raveena’s family is fed.


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