Srinagar, Nov 29: Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Saturday inaugurated a project to rebuild houses of economically downtrodden people whose dwellings were destroyed in recent floods.
Under the banner of Dar-ul-Khair headed by him, Mirwaiz launched the project under AkhAkis (all together) initiative by laying foundation stone of house of a Kashmiri Pandit in MandirBagh area here. Donning a volunteer’s uniform, Mirwaiz, who is Kashmir’s chief cleric, led enthused volunteers of Dar-ul-Khair to the construction site.
“It is our social and religious responsibility to help needy people irrespective of sect, caste or religion who lost their houses in the devastating floods,” Mirwaiz said while laying foundation stone of the house of PanditMotiLal.
“People of Kashmir have gone through trying times during past 25 years and the floods have compounded their problems. The resilience shown by people of Kashmir to restart their lives after floods is commendable. This serves as an eye-opener for those who believe that Kashmiris will never rise again after the floods,” he said.
Describing Kashmiri Pandits as part and parcel of Kashmir’s culture and society, Mirwaiz hailed MotiLal for not leaving his homeland. “MotiLal was so much attached to Kashmir that he stayed in his three storey houses alongwith his family members. During floods, he was rescued by local youth and later his house collapsed. He has been with the people through thick and thin. To reconstruct his house is purely a humanitarian effort,” he said.
On the occasion, MotiLal and his family extended gratitude to Mirwaiz. “Floods destroyed our house and shattered our lives. I received paltry compensation from the government but today it is like a silver lining in clouds for me today as Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has taken the responsibility to reconstruct my house. I am indebted to Mirwaiz and Kashmiris for all the help,” Lal said.
Earlier, addressing a function at MandirBagh, Mirwaiz said Dar-ul-Khair will construct 100 houses for neediest people. “Our objective is to rebuild homes and community together. I personally collected donations for the humanitarian cause and in the first phase we aim to construct 100 houses for needy people,” he said.
Under the AkhAkhis initiative each house will be built on a 600 sq.fts with two rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. The estimated cost for rebuilding a single house is approximately Rs 5.20 lakh. The houses will be constructed under the guidance of experts who have volunteered their services to Dar-ul-Khair.
“We appeal the people to generously donate to make our mission successful and enable us to undertake rehabilitation of more flood victims,” he said.
He said the selection of beneficiaries was done in a transparent manner. “The respective masjid committees forwarded the names of the needy people who cannot afford to reconstruct their houses,” he said.
The beneficiaries include a widow Gulshan Hamid of MandirBagh whose house collapsed and her child, Muhammad Musib, a ninth standard student died during a rescue operation after his boat capsized. Other beneficiaries include a newspaper hawker Ghulam Mustafa Bhat of Gowkadal, a tailor Shabir Ahmad Rather of Maisuma whose house and shop were destroyed. His uncle, GulamQadirBhat also died in the floods.
He said Dar-ul-Khair has combined both professional and voluntary efforts. “We aim to build community by bringing people to work together and by strengthening the sense of togetherness in Kashmir and individual and community capacities for collective action in voluntary service of those who are in need,” he said.
Among others present on the occasion included senior Hurriyat leaders Agha Syed Hassan Al Moosvi, Advocate Shahidul Islam, Hilal War, MushtaqSofi besides Imam of Jamia Masjid SayeedNaqashbandi, spokesperson Jamat-e-Islami Advocate Zahid Ali and businessman Manzoor Ahmad Wangnoo.