Mob disrupts Christian NGO’s food distribution in Uttar Pradesh
Some unidentified people on April 17 disrupted a Christian NGO’s distribution of food kits among those affected by the nationwide lockdown in western Uttar Pradesh.
“We were distributing provision for about 3,000 families in Electronic City in the Sector 62 of Noida when a mob disrupted our work. Seeing the crowd the police asked us to wind up and we complied,” said Indian Missionary Society Father Joson John Tharakan, director of the Board for Research Education and Development (BREAD).
The Noida-based NGO is managed by the Delhi province of the Indian Missionary Society. It supports some 40,000 school children in six states with education and meals.
In view of the lockdown, BREAD decided to distribute 5 kg wheat flour to some 30,000 families living in Noida.
They started the distribution on April 15 with the support of the Noida administration and the police, Father Tharakan told Matters India April 17 after the mob disrupted their work.
“Seeing the crowd, the police told us that they might not be able to control them. So, they asked us to stop the distribution and move. As we were going to our vehicle, someone clicked photograph from behind us and tweeted it to the commissioner,” the priest narrated.
The commissioner, unaware of the permission given to the NGO, asked the police to act. “But later he came to know that it was done by a political party,” the priest said without mentioning the name of the party.
The matter was sorted out after the Deputy Commissioner of Police spoke to the commissioner.
“We contacted the political party’s Lucknow office and they have apologized and asked the person to remove the tweet. They have removed the photo from the twitter,” Father Tharakan said.
He said they had distributed 3,000 packets on April 16 and 2,850 following day.
“We will continue the distribution from tomorrow,” he said and dismissed the incident as an attempt by some political parties to malign them.
Father Tharakan, a lawyer by profession, got the idea of feeding and educating poor children after talking to group of women.
“The women were very poor and illiterate. They said their children did not study as they had to go out to work to survive. From there I thought why not work for such children and secure their future,” he explained.
He was introduced to Mary’s Meal, the brainchild of the Scottish Catholic Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow to serve meals to children. He started its Indian branch in 2004 through his congregation’s social service wing. In 2009, he founded BREAD to help underprivileged children across the country.
Most of BREAD’s benefactors are people of other religions, the priest pointed out. Even the lockdown victims his organization serves are all Hindus and Muslims.