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Kashmir police officer sets up 'wall of kindness' for the needy

The 33-year-old officer says he chose the location outside his office so that he could monitor and supervise the arrangements.

Published: 22nd November 2020 10:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd November 2020 11:44 AM   |  A+A-

From food items to hangers filled with warm clothes, ‘Wall of Kindness’ in Srinagar brings warmth during this harsh winter

From food items to hangers filled with warm clothes, ‘Wall of Kindness’ in Srinagar brings warmth during this harsh winter | Zahoor Punjabi

Express News Service

JAMMU&KASHMIR: As the mercury drops to 2 degree Celsius on a windy Saturday evening  in Srinagar, a youngster, Zubair Ahmad, puts up a blanket on a hanger mounted on the ‘Wall of Kindness’, a unique wall set up for the needy and homeless, outside the office of the traffic police department.

Ahmad is among thousands of residents who have come forward to donate their clothes — jackets, coats, suits, mufflers, among others — for those in need of warm clothes during the chilly winter, as a gesture of their “kindness”.  

And the ‘architect’ behind the Wall of Kindness initiative is Sheikh Aadil Mushtaq, a 2015-batch Kashmir Police Service (KPS) officer from Baramulla district who is posted as deputy superintendent of police (DSP) traffic police in Srinagar.

Moved by the deplorable conditions of the poor — hit by two shutdowns, after the abrogations of Article 370 in August last year and the Covid-19 lockdown in March —  the young police officer took the initiative on November 13 on the occasion of World Kindness Day. The Wall of Kindness was first started in Mashhad in Iran in 2016 and later, the charity initiative spread to other parts of the world.

Starting from food items to hangers filled with warm clothes to sanitary pads, the Wall of Kindness in  the heart of summer capital brings warmth during this harsh winter. Painted in white, the wall has a message, too:  “If you don’t need it, leave it. If you need it, take it.” “It is not a new idea. It is a corollary effort. This Wall of Kindness is an interface that I have dedicated to the people of Srinagar,” Aadil says.

The 33-year-old officer says he chose the location outside his office so that he could monitor and supervise the arrangements. According to Aadil, there has been an overwhelming response to the initiative.  “Every day, hundreds of people come and donate items such as woollen clothes, food and blankets etc.” The DSP, who is pursuing post-graduation diploma in cybercrime, says with the onset of winter, the arrangements for kangris (earthen hot pots) have also been made at the wall.

A coffee and tea vending machine has also been set up there by the donors. “Any homeless or an underprivileged person can have a cup of tea or coffee to beat the chilling winter,” the officer says, adding that it is being ensured that the items reach the needy only. “My initiative has been successful. The things are reaching the needy and the deserving people, and this was the main purpose of my initiative,” Aadil says. Asked whether people have been hesitant in donating, the officer says: “I have been lucky here. The kind of love and affection I get from people is overwhelming.

Without their help, it would have been impossible. I don’t have to instruct much. People are themselves cooperating and donating items.” “I am not doing it as a police officer. Being a police officer is my second identity. I am a responsible citizen first, and I have certain responsibilities towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” says DSP. Aadil says he has been receiving calls from people from Jammu and other places who want to join the initiative and generously donate for the destitute. 

The police officer says the winter in Kashmir is harsh and many people struggle in the absence of warm clothing. He said he and other police personnel wanted to help those people. The clothes hanging on the wall catch the attention of people who stop to take a look. Locals have, however, appreciated the initiative. Ahmad, a local who has also donated a pair of blankets, says the initiative should be appreciated to encourage others.

“It hardly matters whether the initiative has been taken by a police officer or a civilian. What matters is that we need to be compassionate towards people, who have been economically hit by two lockdowns since August 5 last year. We need to be compassionate towards each other and help each other in the trying times like Covid-19 pandemic. We should come up with such initiatives regularly,” he says.

Moved by deplorable conditions of the poor in Srinagar, after two lockdowns in seven months, a young traffic police officer sets up a ‘Wall of Kindness’ where people can donate clothes for those in need, reports Fayaz Wani.



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