Putting Humanity First
During normal times, we eagerly wait for near and dear ones staying outside the state to come home, as much as they long to return, but the ongoing health crisis has turned this warmth the other way round, at least if the response of some colonies and civil society organisations is any indication. Instead of welcoming them, reports of their return seems to have sent out a fresh wave of fear as some colonies have reportedly objected to using public complexes in its vicinity as quarantine centres. This happened at a time when the government of Nagaland is racing against time to prepare quarantine facilities for thousands of stranded people who are returning to the state after going through untold hardships over the past two months since the lockdown began. Instead of fighting the deadly novel coronavirus (Covid-19) together with the government, some have been blinded by stigmatisation and unfounded fear.
Amid this gloom, the Chakhesang Baptist Church Council (CBCC) offered its complexes at Pfutsero to be used as quarantine centres. It was a breath of fresh air for the state and its people; one of the best things that has happened to the state during this crisis. Close on the heels of CBCC’s heart-warming gesture, the District Task Force Covid-19 Mokokchung won the hearts of many through its unique way of welcoming the returnees. When many are worried and even panicking over hundreds of people stranded in various parts of the country, including orange and red zones coming back to the state, the people of Mokokchung showed exemplary compassion towards them by arranging gift hampers containing the Bible, face mask stitched under Mokokchung Mask Campaign, face shield, a towel and a letter. “Welcome back to Mokokchung. We have been praying for your safe arrival to our hometown and we thank God that he has graciously brought you back in good health,” goes the letter. While highlighting several amenities provided at the quarantine centres to help them complete the self isolation period without much problem, the letter requested them to bear the inconveniences saying that’s the best it could manage from the resources available in their hometown.
Well, it could be the best thing that has happened to many of the returnees in a long time. It’s not the content of the gift hampers but the intent that makes the gesture of the District Task Force Covid-19 Mokokchung priceless. What most stranded people would want at this point of time is acceptance and love, not special treatment. It is natural to have fear with neighbouring states witnessing a spike in coronavirus cases following the return of people from orange and red zones but stigmatising them is certainly not the solution. The least our society can do for the returnees is providing them a place to peacefully stay in isolation for the stipulated period set by the government. Once they complete quarantine, the state will have more workforce to fight the deadly virus. Love, like hate, can have a ripple effect on humanity.