Muslim villagers in Murshidabad’s Samserganj have raised money to rebuild the houses of six Hindu families gutted in a fire, after an appeal for assistance to an Id congregation at a local mosque. At last count, nearly Rs 49,000 had been rustled up and distributed among the six families, whose 26 members are now staying inside the compound of a child welfare centre in tents provided by local authorities. The blaze started on Thursday in the house of Phulkumari Bhaskar from burning firewood while cooking and soon spread to other homes, fed by a gas cylinder that exploded. “We discussed the matter with the secretary of the village Idgah committee, Lutfal Haque. During Id on Saturday, the secretary appealed on the public address system to nearly 3,000 villagers taking part in the prayers to donate money,” said Mohammad Abbasuddin, a schoolteacher. A sum of Rs 33,600 was collected on Saturday and Rs 15,000 on Sunday. Phulkumari was in a grocer’s shop across the road and her nine-year-old daughter in the house when the fire started. “I rushed to my house. By then, other villagers were also alerted and I raised the alarm. Thankfully, no one was hurt,” Phulkumari said. Santosh Bhaskar, 43, also left homeless by the fire, said he was “touched” and described the donations as a “boon at a time of distress”. Block development officer Joydeep Chakraborty said the aid as “was a very good gesture”.
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