Clad in a burqa, a 32-year-old Muslim woman helps sanitise Hindu temples in India’s capital of Delhi. Priests welcome her. On May 8, tweeps hailed Imrana Saifi, a #Coronawarrior, and a perfect example of communal harmony.
In a city that saw deadly clashes just over two months ago over religious divide, Saifi’s efforts come as a welcome news.
On Friday, sharing a news report about her, tweep @PrashamPreet wrote: “A woman named, Imrana Saifi helps sanitise a number of temples, mosques and gurdwaras in North Delhi, amid the coronavirus crisis. Even during the days of Ramadan. Now this is the type of ‘Secularism’ we need, people like her are a blessing #CoronaWarrior.”
Everyday, Saifi goes around with a disinfectant spray in hand, sanitising temples, churches, gurudwaras and mosques amidst the COVID-19 lockdown.
Even while fasting during Ramadan, the mother of three does not fail to carry out her disinfection duties every day with her equipment provided by the local residential welfare association, Indian media outlets reported.
The priests welcome and even help her as she requests permission to spray the disinfectant inside and outside the temples in north Delhi.
According to India-based television news channel, NDTV, Saifi, who has studied only till the seventh grade, had also made arrangements to help people affected by the violence in late February over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Now, fighting to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country, Saifi has joined hands with three other women from her locality.
The areas the team covers are Jafrabad, Mustafabad, Chandbagh, Nehru Vihar, Shiv Vihar and Babu Nagar, and does not differentiate between the temples, churches, and mosques that they encounter on their way.
"People are aware that it is a dangerous disease that is why we don't face any problem on our sanitisation drive. The pandemic has brought the communities together," Saifi was quoted as saying.
An advocate for a “secular” India, Saifi said: "I want to uphold the secular culture of India. I want to send a message that we are all one and we will stay together,” according to the report.
"We aren't stopped by the temple priest or anyone else and we haven't faced any difficulty as of now," she added.
The report also quoted the priest of Nehru Vihar's Nav Durga Mandir, Pandit Yogesh Krishna, as saying: "Such steps are welcome for communal harmony and we must support each other. We must discard hatred and adopt love and be the each other's well-wishers."
Saifi's husband Niyamat Ali is a plumber and Imrana has to work as well to make ends meet.
But both of them are currently out of work because of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown and it has been difficult to make a living.
Netizens were immediate supporters of Saifi’s mission and called her a “role model”.
Tweep @buzydoing tweeted at several Indian journalists and a news channel, and wrote: “Haters, This is our India. […] @sudhirchaudhary @AMISHDEVGAN @RubikaLiyaquat @republic stop dividing us on the religious grounds.”
Twitter user @syedurahman posted: “Another very positive news. More such news need to come out. Thank you Imrana Saifi for being a leader and a role model.”