The 13th-century Sufi shrine in Rajasthan is spending lakhs of rupees to send back home by train and bus the several thousand pilgrims and migrant workers stranded in Ajmer.
The gesture by the famed Ajmer Sharif Dargah, where saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti lies enshrined, has benefited nearly 1,200 people from Bengal who had got stuck in Ajmer since the lockdown began on March 25. Most are pilgrims except for about 150 migrant workers who were employed in the Rajasthan town.
The move comes at a time when social media is abuzz with criticism that religious institutions are sitting on piles of cash donated by devotees but are not coming forward to help the lockdown-hit poor.
A train carrying the stranded people from Bengal left Ajmer for Dankuni railway station, 13km from Howrah station, at 11.25am on Monday.
'The governments gave us permission and the railways provided us with the train. We issued a draft of Rs 8.28 lakh for tickets and food for the nearly 1,200 passengers,' dargah committee chairman, Mr. Amin Pathan, said.