Scrolling news:

Cancelled Muharram procession fund cancer treatment of Hindu man

26th Oct 2017

Nadine Osman

Muslims in Kharagpur, West Bengal, India, cancelled their Muharram procession in Puratan Bazar and instead donated the funds for the treatment of local Hindu cancer patient.

Procession organisers Samaj Sangha Club raised Rs 50,000 [£583], the amount needed for the celebration, for Abir Bhunia, 35, a shop owner with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. They have already donated Rs 6,000 [£70].

Bhunia is undergoing chemotherapy and needs Rs 12 lakh [£14,000] for a treatment that includes bone marrow transplantation.

Secretary General of Samar Sangha, Amjad Khan, said, “Muharram processions can be organised every year. But we have to save the life first. We hope to raise a bigger amount than the budget for our procession”.

Member of the Muharram committee, Mohammad Bilal, said God would be satisfied “if we serve the people. He is suffering from cancer and fighting with death. We should stand by him.”

An overwhelmed Bhunia is full of gratitude for his neighbours. “I don’t know whether I will be cured finally. But what my neighbours did for me has touched my heart,” he said. He lost his grandmother and both parents last year, and lives with his wife, they are expecting their first child.

Bhunia’s neighbour Ranjan Ash pointed out that there were some community Hindu festival Durga Pujas in the locality, but none of them thought of “curtailing their expenditure and help the youth”. “We are overwhelmed.”

As word spread of the Muslims’ gesture, assistance seems to be pouring in. Chair of Kharagpur municipality, Pradip Sarkar, said they would try to help Bhunia.
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