New Delhi: As the number of coronavirus infections surge across the country, minority religious institutions, staying true to their values of humanism, have shown the way by offering their premises to be converted to quarantine centers or hospitals to strengthen the fight against the pandemic.
Masjid turned into oxygen center
In Mumbai, Pawan Dham and Paras Dham Jain derasars (temples) had been converted into hospitals, the Makkah Masjid had been turned into an oxygen center and the St. Michael’s church had been turned into an isolation facility, Mumbai Mirror reported.
These institutions, open to people of all faiths, these institutions have paved the way in showing that religion and caste do not matter in the fight against the pandemic.
The two Jain derasars in Kandivali and Ghatkopar respectively were converted into Covid-19 hospitals without ICU facilities last month, after their religious head Namramuni Jain Maharaj urged people to give back to the society, said Mumbai Mirror. Pawan Dham is a 75-bed facility that has already treated 230 patients from different communities. However, the facility only admits non-critical patients younger than 60 years of age as those with low oxygen saturation levels and co-morbidities need an ICU and ventilators. The daily expense at the facility is Rs. 3,500 of which the patient pays Rs. 1,000, a non-profit, Niramaya Health Foundation pays Rs. 1,000 and the remaining Rs. 1,500 is borne by MP Gopal Shetty, Mumbai Mirror reported.
At Paras Dham which has 40 beds and has plans to add 30 more, the patients have to pay Rs. 3,000 which towards additional services MLA Parag Shah told Mirror. He said that each patient receives a diet tailored for his / her body by a dietician and premises are disinfected thrice a day. The institution also holds entertainment sessions like mimicry performances and live music sessions for patients to keep their spirits up, Shah said.
In Bhiwandi, the Makkah Masjid was turned into an oxygen centre with the help of the Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind Movement for Peace and Justice and the Shanti Nagar Trust. Out of the 113 patients admitted there, 25 were Hindus. Riyaz Tahir Shaikh of the Shanti Nagar Trust told Mirror that the mosque was converted into an isolation facility and had five beds with oxygen cylinders for patients facing difficulty breathing.
In a press release, Ausaf Ahmed Falahi, President JIH Bhiwandi said, “Bhiwandi-Nizampur has been hit the hardest by Coronavirus. It’s a very congested city, resulting in the rapid spread of the disease. As it is, the city has a poor health infrastructure, and now even several general practitioners have shut their clinics due to fear of infection. A vast majority of people in the city lack awareness about the disease and are unable to afford treatment. Hence, we decided to start this facility to do our bit in these trying circumstances.”
Qaiser Mirza of the Shanti Nagar Trust said, “Khidmat-e-khalq (Service to humanity) is one of the basic tenets of Islam.A mosque is not merely a place of worship. Rather, its’s supposed to be a community centre working for the welfare of the people living in its vicinity. Makkah Masjid was shut to the worshippers and was lying idle due to the pandemic and the lockdown. Hence, we decided to use some of the premises of the mosque to help those who can’t avail treatment facilities elsewhere.”
In Mahim, the St. Michael’s church, opened its doors as an isolation facility for nurses from the Hinduja Hospital a month ago. Mirror reported that the decision was taken after the BMC requested the church to do so owing to its proximity to the hospital.
500-bed isolation complexes for corona suspects
In April, the Sant Gajanan Maharaj temple of Shegaon in Buldhana had created 500-bed isolation complexes for corona suspects and patients and sheltered migrant labourers in different schools and colleges in the district, The Times of India reported.
In March, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee had offered the inn at the Majnu ka Tilla Gurdwara to set up isolation wards and facilities for patients suffering from the infection.
It is heartening to see religious institutions like these opening their doors for the community at large, thus paving the path to communal harmony.