A group of Sikh volunteers on Thursday started ‘Guru ka langar’ (a community kitchen preparing and serving fresh meals) for the Rohingya Muslims refugees, extending humanitarian assistance for the fleeing Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh.

The Khalsa Aid team, camping in the border town of Teknaf, got the required clearance and permission from the Bangladesh authorities to serve meals to the refugees on Wednesday.

Earlier, the team, which reached the border town on Monday, was distributing packed food items and water to Rohingya Muslims, Times of India reported.

According to The Times of India, Khalsa Aid prepared vegetable biryani for over 30,000 refugees and distributed it among them in packets on Thursday.

Sikh volunteers say they will initially serve at least 35,000 meals per day. (Source: Khalsa Aid)

Managing Director Amarpreet Singh told Indian Express that, “We cooked and served the first langar meals here today. We had purchased raw materials like rice, vegetables and big utensils on Wednesday after getting required permissions from the government of Bangladesh. The initial target is at least 35,000 meals per day. However seeing the increasing number of refugees here, we know it won’t be enough to feed all but we had to start somewhere.”

Seeing the ‘miserable state’ of the refugees, especially children who haven’t eaten for days, it was difficult for the team to decide from where langar should start, he added.

“We feared that there might be a stampede seeing food being served here. There are at least 3 lakh refugees here already. But a beginning had to be made though we cannot feed everyone here in a single day. People are in dire need of food here. Children are roaming and begging on roads for food. The condition continues to be miserable,” he said.

“We went to local markets to purchase utensils and raw materials. But some shopkeepers inflated the rates and quoted double prices seeing that we are outsiders. However many locals also helped us in making arrangements. We managed somehow. Attitude of the locals towards Rohingyas is varying at individual level. Some are really compassionate and trying to help them. They are even coming from far off areas to help them but then some are not. They are seeing them as burden on their country,” said Singh.

Shocking visuals of fleeing Rohingya Muslims

As tens of thousands of persecuted Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee their homes in Burma’s western Rakhine state, unusually grim visuals from the scenes have sent shock waves across social media.

Rohingya Muslims as old as 105 are pouring into Bangladesh without any basic facilities of medical or shelter.

In lines stretching deep into the horizon, Rohingya Muslims – 80 percent of whom are women and children – have crossed into southeast Bangladesh after making the long and arduous trek from the impoverished region of Rakhine state.

Narrating accounts of massacres at the hands of Myanmar security forces and Buddhist vigilantes that started on August 25, the sick, wounded and elderly people have received a cold and hostile reception by their closest neighbour.

“I’ve carried my mother on my back for 4 days on foot after Myanmar army torched our homes,” said one displaced Rohingya Muslim.

The Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim group who have lived in Myanmar’s Rakhine State for centuries, have suffered decades of repression under the country’s Buddhist majority.

Stripped of their citizenship by the military junta in the 1980s, they have endured killings, torture and mass rape, according to the United Nations.