The decision was made when she saw a group of people moving from door-to-door seeking rice and potatoes.
The hand that wields the baton is handing out food packets to around 900 families that have been badly hit by the lockdown at Khagragarh in Burdwan.
The plight of the poor in times of lockdown made police constable Mahinoor Khatun, 37, withdraw her savings of Rs 2 lakh, which she had kept aside for her father’s treatment.
Mahinoor’s father Masud Choudhury, 68, has suffered cardiac arrest twice and is under treatment in Burdwan. She had planned to take him to Bangalore for better treatment.
A constable with the district enforcement branch in East Burdwan, Mahinoor had started distributing rice, pulses, potato, mustard oil and onion to poor families of her locality in Khagragarh last week. She visited several areas of her locality and asked the needy to come and collect the essential items from her home.
Mahinoor took the decision to break her savings and feed the poor when she saw a group of people moving from door-to-door seeking rice and potatoes.
“I saw a few rickshaw-pullers or day wage earner asking for rice and potatoes as they had no job because of the lockdown. I was stunned. They are poor but I have never seen them seek alms. The sight pained me and I decided to spend the money I had kept for my father’s treatment to provide food to them. I will continue to support them till they are back in the job,” said Mahinoor.
Khagragarhis an area where around 1,000 poor families cutting across religions and castes reside. The men of these poor families are mostly daily labourers.On Tuesday, Mahinoor distributed relief packages consisting of 3kg rice, 3kg potatoes along with pulses, onions and mustard oil to 900 families.
“We were in deep crisis ever since the lockdown was imposed and my husband did not have a job. We got something to eat after didi (Mahinoor) gave us rice and other essentials last week. Today she helped us again with the essentials. She asked us to come back next week,” said Jhuma Das, a resident of Khagragarh.
A widow Anwara Biwi said she (Mahinoor) would give them fruits, flours and sugar before Ramzan starts on April 24. Mahinoor has spoken to her elder brother and sister, both of who work in the police department, to chip in with funds in case she needs it.
Choudhury, who is helping his daughter pack the food, said he felt proud when his daughter came to him with the proposal to feed the needy. “The money was used properly. My treatment can wait but the hunger of these people cannot. I hope the blessings of these people will help me recover very soon,” he said.
Local residents said Mahinoor had earlier helped with money for the marriage of four girls.
Mahinoor’s aunt, who lives in Birbhum’s Singhi village, had told her about food crisis at her village last week.
“I hired a vehicle and sent her a quintal of rice, pulses, potatoes and onions. I requested her to distribute the same among those who need it. Our SP sahib has asked to help the people in whatever way we can,” Mahinoor said.
Bhaskar Mukherjee, East Burdwan police chief, said: “I welcome the initiative of the police personnel. Her move will inspire others, including her colleagues, to support the needy people during this time of crisis.”