Covered in a burqa from head to toe, 32-year-old Imrana Saifi is not the typical visitor to the Nav Durga Temple in North Delhi’s Nehru Vihar.
But the coronavirus crisis has thrown up striking images of communal harmony from the district that saw deadly clashes just over two months ago.
With a disinfectant spray in hand, Imrana Saifi has taken up the responsibility of sanitising several of the temples, mosques and gurdwaras lining the neighbourhood.
The mother of three observes the day-long fast for the holy month of Ramzan but does not fail to show up every day with the sanitiser tank provided by the local residential welfare association.
The priests welcome and even help her as she requests permission to spray the disinfectant inside and outside the temples in the north Delhi neighbourhood.
Imrana, who has studied only till the seventh grade, had also made arrangements to help people affected by the violence in late February over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
She has made her own team of “corona warriors” with three other women from the area who are now working amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
In the narrow lanes of Jafrabad, Mustafabad, Chandbagh, Nehru Vihar, Shiv Vihar, Babu Nagar, they say they don’t differentiate between the mosques that play out the azaan and the temples with their ringing bells.
“I want to uphold the secular culture of India. I want to send a message that we are all one and we will stay together,” Imrana said.
“We aren’t stopped by the temple priest or anyone else and we haven’t faced any difficulty as of now,” she added.
The priest of Nehru Vihar’s Nav Durga Mandir of Nehru Vihar, Pandit Yogesh Krishna told NDTV: “Such steps are welcome for communal harmony and we must support each other. We must discard hatred and adopt love and be the each other’s well-wishers.”
Imrana’s husband Niyamat Ali is a plumber by profession and Imrana has to work as well to make ends meet.
But both of them are currently out of work because of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown and it has been difficult to make a living.
Taking time out from household chores and caring for her three children, she has made community service her mission.
“People are aware that it is a dangerous disease that is why we don’t face any problem on our sanitisation drive. The pandemic has brought the communities together,” she said.