October 8, 2017
Local councillor from Trinamool Congress Tushar Chowdhury, saluted the gesture.
Muslims in West Bengal’s Kharagpur have decided to cancel this year’s Muharram procession & donate the money for the treatment of a Hindu neighbor, who’s a cancer patient.
Samaj Sangha Club, which organises the Muharram procession in Kharagpur’s Puratan Bazar, will raise ₹50,000 i.e. the amount needed for the celebration, for Abir Bhunia (35), a mobile recharge shop owner who’s suffering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma(a Cancer of the immune system). They’ve already given him ₹6,000.
Bhunia is undergoing chemotherapy at Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre in Kolkata & needs ₹12 lakh for a treatment that includes bone marrow transplantation.
“Muharram processions can be organised every year, but we’ve to save the life 1st,” said Amjad Khan, secretary of Samaj Sangha.
“We’ve started raising money; on Friday, after the namaz we’ll ask the imam in the mosque to announce donation drive for Abir. We hope to raise a bigger amt. than the budget for our procession,” said Khan.
Overwhelmed Bhunia is full of gratitude for his neighbors. “I do not know whether I’ll be cured finally. But what my neighbors did for me have touched my heart,” he said.
He lost his grandmother & both parents last year & lives with his wife, a homemaker & they’re expecting their 1st child.
Bhunia’s neighbour Ranjan Ash pointed out that there were community Durga Pujas in the locality, but none of them thought about “curtailing their expenditure & help the youth”. “We are overwhelmed.”
Mohammad Bilal, a member of the Muharram committee, said that God would be satisfied “if we serve the people”. “He’s suffering from cancer & fighting with death. We should stand by him.”
As word spread of the Muslims’ gesture, assistance seems to be pouring in. Pradip Sarkar, chairman of Kharagpur municipality, said they would try to help Bhunia.
It was also pointed out that there’s a temple for goddess Sitala (worshiped in Bengal as a protector against pox) nearby, for which the Muslim community had raised money to build a gate & also the food items offered to the Goddess are distributed to Muslims.