By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The local Indian community in Bacolod City are also expressing their concern over the situation taking place back in their homeland in India, which is currently experiencing a grave crisis due to coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19.
In an exclusive interview with Watchmen Daily Journal, Rakesh Kumar, a community member of the Punjabi Khalsa Diwan in Bacolod City’s Hervias Road in Barangay Villamonte, said he along with his fellow community members are advising their families and relatives back in India to limit their movement for as much as possible to acquiring basic needs only.
“Ginahambalan namun sila, isa lang [maguwa] para sa needs sa balay,” Kumar said. “[As much as possible] didto lang gid sila sa balay nila.”
Kumar said they have been sending food and face masks through the Khalsa Aid International program.
The Khalsa Aid International program is a non-profit organization that gathers donations from all over the world. The organization not only helps COVID-19 victims, but also assists victims of both natural and man-made disasters.
He noted that in the Indian state of Maharashtra and the capital New Delhi, they have been receiving news of substantial new cases of COVID-19 and are currently the most badly hit places in India.
Kumar said they have also been telling their families and relatives to stay away from any gatherings.
He further noted that so far their families back home have escaped the crisis, pointing out they are living far from the cities.
As of present, Kumar also said based on the latest news they received back home, India has already opened COVID-19 vaccinations to everyone aged 18 and above in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
He noted that some of their families and friends back home are afraid of injections, but they explained it to them that it is needed.
Kumar also said aid is now coming in, noting that Singapore had recently sent assistance, along with the United Arab Emirates.
“Maybe by next week, we hope na magnubo na man gid ang kaso,” he said.
Since last year when the first wave of the pandemic began, Kumar said the Punjabi Khalsa Diwan had actively helped the city government of Bacolod and even the provincial government of Negros Occidental by handing out medicines.
They have also helped medical frontliners by providing them water and face masks. They have also handed out financial assistance to other local government units.
“Asta subong gabulig kami sa local government kasi diri na kami [ga-istar], ang amon mga kabataan [diri na nagdaku] mabulig gid ang Punjabi community,” he said.
He further added the Indian community in Bacolod is also actively helping out back to their homeland, pointing out that one of their groups inside the Sikh temple are sending out whatever they can.
Even though there is some criticism against the Indian government over its current handling of the crisis, Kumar said he believes their government is doing what they can in order to resolve the crisis.
“I hope by May 15 under control na ang mga kaso,” he added.
As of May 1, 2021 India has recorded 392,488 new COVID-19 cases, with 3,673 deaths recorded in one day alone.
The country has reported a total of 19,549,943 COVID-19 cases with 215,454 deaths./DGB, WDJ