Technology gives you immense power. Social media has brought the world closer. The social networking sites have literally changed the pace, scale, and cost of communication.
Amid nationwide lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, one such Twitter thread made Assam Police swung to action and distributed ration to the migrants from Bihar who were struggling to arrange a single meal a day.
Puja Awasthi, a journalist working for ‘The Week’ received a call from one Mohammed Faraz. He hails from Bihar’s East Champaran district. The journalist had met Faraz in Lucknow’s Shaheed Path while he was looking for a way to return home.
Faraz used to work in an air conditioning firm in Uttar Pradesh. His employer had shut the office following the lockdown. Abandoned by his employer, Faraz was also running out of money.
On April 4th, 2020, he reached out to the journalist pleading her to help his younger brother Rahimullah in Assam. Faraz told the journalist that Rahimullah has not eaten for the last few days.
Awasthi first contacted Assam’s COVID-19 control room. Apart from Rahimullah, there were few others who were stuck with him in Hojai district of the State.
The journalist sent out a tweet, “Desperate call for help from 17 year old in Assam, abandoned by employer, now subsisting on biscuits. Please retweet to bring to the notice of @sarbanandsonwal @CMOfficeAssam @assampolice @PIB_Guwahati…”
In another tweet, she tagged the Assam’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and added the address where Rahimullah was.
The journalist received a quick response from Renuka Mishra, Additional Director General of Police (UP Police Recruitment and Promotion Board) based in Lucknow.
Mishra got in touch with Satya Narayan Pradhan, the Director General of the NDRF who had further contacted GP Singh, ADGP (Law & Order), Assam.
Singh quickly took note and responded to Pradhan, “No sweat. It’s our backyard. Would be delivered with enough ration to see through #lockdown by tomorrow 1000 hours’.
On April 5th, 2020 at 12:42 pm, Singh tweeted, “Groceries handed over to the persons mentioned in the tweet of @pujaawasthi by @Hojai_Police @assampolice.”
Rahimullah thanked the Assam Police and told Awasthi, “Dil khush ho gaya (My heart is happy).”
The country is facing an unprecedented crisis and all efforts are being made to arrest the transmission of the highly contagious COVID-19.
In such dark and uncertain times, it is the police and health workers who are fighting at the frontline against coronavirus. Reports of attacks on the coronavirus warriors in parts of the country are unfortunate.
Amidst all the crisis, a tweet gave hope for a better tomorrow to Rahimullah and several like him. And, it once again reminded us of the power of social media tools at a time when fake news is flooding our feeds.
Photo: Assam Police