Epitomising communal harmony, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine has been providing sehri and iftari to around 500 Muslims quarantined at Aashirwad Bhawan in Katra during the holy month of Ramadan.
The shrine had converted Aashirwad Bhawan in Katra into a quarantine centre in the month of March amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief executive officer of the board Ramesh Kumar said, “In the month of Ramazan, the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has been working overnight to provide sehri and iftari to our Muslim brethren in the morning and the evening.”
“We are running a quarantine centre at Aashirwad Bhawan, which has a capacity of 500 beds. Since it’s the holy month of Ramzan and the government of Jammu and Kashmir has been bringing back its residents from different parts of the country, we converted Aashirwad Bhawan in Katra into a quarantine centre in the month of March,” said Kumar.
“Those brought to Aashirwad Bhawan are mostly labourers, who are fasting during the month of Ramazan. So, we decided to provide them sehri and iftari everyday,” said the CEO.
The migrant labourers have come to Jammu and Kashmir from different parts of the country in special Shramik trains and buses to Udhampur town, which is centrally located. Katra is around 40km away from Udhampur.
Kumar said apart from the Aashirwad Bhawan, the shrine board has been providing breakfast, lunch and dinner to the people quarantined in other government facilities in Katra.
The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine is one of the most revered Hindu shrines and is also the second richest after Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams in India.
The shrine board has spent around Rs 80 lakh on providing food to the needy since March 20 in various quarantine centres at Katra . They have spent around Rs 1.5 crore in aiding the Covid-19 response.
All facilities of the shrine board in Katra are well maintained and pilgrims from across the country prefer them over hotels for their cleanliness, hygienic food, comfortable bedding and hospitable staff, a pilgrim observed. (News Courtesy: Hindustan Times/Ravi Krishnan Khajuria)