CAA protesters provide food to 210 families
Fifteen volunteers, who were part of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) at various sites across the city, have been gathering funds for the poor, needy and the daily wage workers amid the lockdown owing to coronavirus pandemic.
Over the last four days, they have distributed food packets to 170 families at Powai, Vashi, Govandi, Mankhurd and Cheeta Camp.
These packets, which can last for 10 days for a family of five, include 5kg rice, 5kg flour, 2kg pulses, 1kg salt, 1kg oil, 1kg sugar, tea leaves and a packet of mix spices.
“When we were raising questions against the government, we were called anti-nationals. But we are patriotic, and it is a trait that those who want something for the country will question those in power,” said Fahad Ahmad, a senior research fellow at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). “Our country needs us right now, and we are on streets distributing food.”
Along with Ahmad, 14 other students from TISS and the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), have been raising money through crowdfunding, and by Saturday evening had provided food packets to 210 families. The group has received ₹1.95 lakh through online transfers after it reached out to people through social media. The group also distributed around 100 sanitisers to on-duty police personnel.
“We have informed the Trombay police station about the work we are doing, and they have allowed us to continue. However, we haven’t been given the essential services pass as yet, and therefore we are struggling to procure permission to go to APMC to collect goods,” said Arish Qamar, a student of IIPS.
Fearing the funds will get exhausted, these students are trying to reach out to the government requesting that a committee be formed under whose guidance these social groups can work together.
“We have given these families ration for 10 days, but it will need to be refilled. Like us, there are many other groups who are working as well. The government can take our suggestions, and we can figure out a way to work together,” said Sarfaraz Malik, engineer.