Mumbai, July 8 (IANS) Four prominent Good Samaritans from Maharashtra who rendered yeoman services during lockdown to lakhs of stranded migrants, were felicitated and honoured with Certificates of Appreciation by a Mumbai NGO, an official said here on Wednesday.
They are: Bollywood actor Sonu Sood of Mumbai, Yavatmal’s famous 81-year old Baba Karnail Singh Khaira, a Central Railway (CR) official Khushroo Poacha of Nagpur and state Director-General of Police (DGP-Home Guards) Sanjay Pandey.
“Like many others, these heroes stand out for their outstanding efforts to help the suffering masses and the lesser fortunate during the long lockdown. It’s our very small appreciation for their great service to humanity,” Harmony Foundation Chairman Abraham Mathai told IANS.
Sood shot into limelight for helping hundreds of migrants by arranging buses and charter flights to help them return home to their families in different parts of India, besides donating PPE kits and other requirements to Punjab doctors.
On a remote highway in Yavatmal, Baba Karnail Singh Khaira and his team of 17, fed over two million hungry hordes of migrants at his small Dera Kar Seva Gurdwara’s Guru ka Langar, absolutely free of cost, and catapulted to global fame.
Besides, Khaira Babaji (as he is revered by all) also fed hundreds of hungry animals left in the lurch due to lockdown – and his feat was first highlighted by IANS on March 31. He was presented the certificate at the hands of Yavatmal Superintendent of Police Raj Kumar.
Nagpur-based unassuming CR Superintendent Khushroo Poacha won hearts by feeding lakhs of people during lockdown but without collecting one rupee, by arranging donations from people around the world.
When his achievement was first highlighted by IANS (April 6), an impressed Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray called Poacha and appreciated his efforts, and the certificate was handed over by Nagpur Police Commissioner B.K. Upadhyay.
Low-profile DGP Sanjay Pandey earned laurels after he constructed the first shelter for homeless and stranded migrants at Andheri west to accommodate 300, along with food, medicines and other amenities.
This proved to be a trendsetter and later many such voluntary shelters came up all over the state helping the displaced migrants, ensuring their safety and welfare before they could reach home.
The Certificates of Appreciation are signed by Baroness Caroline Cox, former Member & Deputy Chairperson of the House of Lords, United Kingdom, Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi and Mathai.
“Owing to the lockdown, it was a challenge to present the certificates to these dignitaries in person or at public functions due to the crowd restrictions. The Maharashtra Police officers helped us in Nagpur and Yavatmal, and all the others we are felicitating online,” Mathai said.
In the past, Harmony Foundation – which gives the sole officially-mandated ‘Mother Teresa Memorial Award’ since 2005 – has felicitated global personalities like Dalai Lama, Malala Yousafzai, Kailash Satyarthi, Laila Talo Khudher Alali, Laxmi Agarwal and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw for achievements in various fields.
He added that there are many other such individuals who have drawn the attention of society and inspired the country at large by their compassionate and selfless services, who are also being similarly honoured.