This time of disaster is a God-given opportunity to unite, putting aside caste, creed differences

Dbyar8_XcAAYZc4Statement by Dharmik Jan Morcha, a multi-religious representative forum of Telangana, on “public appeal in the time of COVID-19 pandemic”, signed by  Rev Fr Anthony Raj Thumma, coordinator, Dharmik Jan Morcha, Telangana;   Mohammed Sadiq Ahmed, coordinator, Dharmik Jan Morcha, Telangana; Krishna Rao, Shankarmutt (Manager); and Venkat Rao, Staya Sai Baba Temple, state president:

Dharmik Jan Morcha (DJM) is a multi-religious representative forum consisting of heads of various religious communities and leaders of faith-based organisations in Telangana State. DJM basically strives for better and better world with re-establishment of humanity and universal brotherhood o the society. At this critical juncture of COVID-19 global pandemic we wish to address you to instil confidence and hope that as humans, we unitedly all can respond as a committed team and win over this catastrophe.

As you may be aware, on March 30, 2020 our Honourable Prime Minister through the video conference interacted with the religious and social development leaders to understand the need of the hour during this challenging time and urged them to continue their combat against the pandemic. He urged the religious representatives to ensure that their followers strictly adhere to the guidelines issued by the central and State Governments in order to contain the spread of the deadly Corona virus.

Again on April 02, 2020 our Prime Minister, in his interaction with Chief Ministers of the State, asked them to urge religious leaders to disseminate the message of social distancing and ask their community members to avoid large scale gathering. Hence, we urge and admonish you to follow this most important instruction of our Prime Minister and of our Chief Minister very rigorously as it is an essential preventive measure until this restriction is lifted.

You must understand that the nation has taken up these strict these measures of social distancing, lockdowns, and curfew in some areas in order to arrest its spread by breaking the chain and to prevent community spreading. It is a must, therefore to stop all social and religious gatherings, any religious congregations, and community and family functions.

In the recent weeks, we have witnessed significant impact of the Corona virus in various sectors. It has not just taken lives of the people but also affected the means of their livelihood to keep themselves alive. It has taken its toll on markets, industries, manufacturing, tourism, hospitality and travel. This, in turn, has affected many people, especially the least paid and self-employed or working in informal sectors or in part-time work with zero-hours contracts.

This is the darkest of all times that we are facing. However, as the saying goes, there is a silver lining. Many have been responding to the needs of the time with promptness and commitment, mobilizing resources and reaching out to the needy in the local situation.

In these dark hours, many religious groups and faith-based organisations across the country are responding to this humanitarian crisis by participating in the awareness campaign and by supporting the impoverished communities providing them with food, water, face masks, hand sanitizers, sanitary kits and hygienic items.

We are witnessing many government agencies, faith-based and community based organisations, religious, educational and health institutions, civil society and self-help groups, and individuals coming together and contributing their bit to face this crisis. COVID-19 has made many organizations to join hands and work together and collaborate with Government institutions, so that the affected communities, especially the migrant workers, daily wage labourers and homeless people, could be benefited.

We encourage these joint efforts and networking of various social and religious groups and urge many more to take up such initiatives of solidarity in all levels. We need to do much more to mobilize the necessary resources and volunteers to prevent and control the spread of the Corona virus, to render medical care and treatment to the patients of COVID-19, and to reach out to the Poor and Needy.

We express a word of appreciation and profound gratitude to all generous people and concerned citizens of India who have been at the service of the deprived, disabled and the diseased during these critical times. We are extremely grateful to our Chief Minister and other Ministers and Officials, Government agencies, and police department and particularly to the dedicated doctors, nurses and other medical personnel.

At this time of global human calamity, we wish to remind all of you that all our religious Faiths instruct us to practice charity and generosity  to the Poor as God dwells in them (Daridranarayana). They also teach that all powerful and merciful God is the creator and protector of humans and creatures, and so, all us belong to one human family of God (Vasudaivakutumbagam) as brothers and sisters.

This time of disaster is a God-given opportunity for us to unite as one humanity, putting aside the differences of creed, caste and class to forge one common humanity. We are interdependent and interconnected as the global pandemic itself is showing us. Hence, let us shun all forms of polarisation and division caused by prejudices and intolerance.

Let us stand together with the entire world and our own nation, to defeat the deadly virus which is causing such unprecedented havoc. We shall work together with total faith in God with deep commitment and compassion leading to dedicated service (seva) and self-sacrifice (thyaga).

Remaining at home, all of us must continue to pray to the Almighty and Loving God that He may liberate us from this epidemic. Let us pray for those who are suffering from the sickness of COVID-19, their families and doctors. We need also pray for all those engaged in their duties to  prevent and protect us from the pandemic. Let us not panic and get depressed due to fear and anxiety. God will surely listen to our prayers and make it pass soon.

Make use of this opportunity to grow closer to God by holiness and by charity to our family and the Poor around us. We must undertake the purification of our hearts from our sinful habits and evil doings by repentance (parivartana).    This is a God sent moment for us to grow in enlightenment and spirituality by increasing in wisdom, discipline and knowledge of spiritual matters.

May God bless you and free us from the COVID-19 pandemic!

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