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Masjids turned to relief centres
By Arif Zain, Malappuram

Immediately after the Mangalore-Chennai mail plunged into the Kadalundi river about 20km. away from Calicut, on 22 June the two nearby mosques turned into relief centres and served as control stations for the rescue works. The tragedy claimed 50 lives and left many injured.

The mishap occurred when the train was nearing a 140-year-old bridge at Kadalundi. Four compartments of the ill-fated train capsized into the river. Soon after the accident took place, the local people rushed to assist in the rescue operations. Rising to the occasion, the imams of the nearby Masjidul Huda and Salafi Masjid converted their mosques into relief centres. When the local people ran helter skelter to collect relief materials, announcements were made through loud speakers of the mosques, giving rescue directions.

Mr. K Chandrashekhara Babu, the district collector of Malappuram, where the accident occured, reached one of the mosques alongwith the officials concerned, and made announcements requesting the locals to move forward to the spot and to donate blood. Similar announcements were made by imams and local leaders also.

The officials kept giving directions to rescue workers from the mosques. Responding to the requests people rushed to the accident site with rescue materials. Dead bodies were laid in the courtyards of the mosques. While some people brought with them clothes to cover dead bodies, many were engaged in bringing food for the victims those who were engaged in rescue operations. A ministerial team comprised Mr. P. K. Kunj Ali Kutty, Mr. P. Shankaranand Dr. M. K. Munir, supervised the entire rescue operations

The extra-ordinary acts of heroism were seen everywhere. From the accident site to the hospitals, people worked hand-in-hand. Barriers of religion, caste and creed vanished away. The media highlighted this side of the tragedy with a note: wait a bit before you judge that the days of human fraternity are over.

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