New Delhi, October 11— Since March this year when the Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic hit Delhi and other parts of the country, Aarif Khan, an ambulance driver, had dedicated himself in the service of the Covid patients.
He would ferry patients to hospitals and dead bodies to cremation ground. Since March, Khan, 48, had ferried close to 200 bodies of covid patients. On October 3, he tested positive for the virus and succumbed to the disease at Hindu Rao Hospital Saturday morning, says a report in The Indian Express.
He was employed with the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, an NGO that provides free emergency services in Delhi and neighbouring areas.
He ensured everyone got a farewell but his own family couldn’t give him that. They saw his body from afar for a few minutes, said Jitender Singh Shunty, founder of Sewa Dal, adding that Khan would have ferried close to 200 bodies since March.
For over six months, Khan would sleep in an ambulance parking lot 28 km from his home in northeast Delhi’s Seelampur, staying in touch with his wife and four children on the phone. Khan was on call 24X7.
Not only did he ferrying, he would collect money for last rites if a family was in need or a deceased’s near ones were not around. He would arrange for last rites of bodies irrespective of their religion. He was a Muslim but he helped out even with cremations of Hindus, said Jitender.
Sewa Dal has been appreciated for its humanitarian work. Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital has recently written an appreciation letter thanking the organisation for transporting over 300 bodies from the hospital of Covid patients and helping in their last rites.
The Sewa Dal was founded in 1995 and has since been providing free and accessible emergency services to the needy in the National Capital and around, including ambulances and blood donation. Khan had been working with them from almost the start.
Khan earned Rs 16,000 a month. He was the sole earning member of the family. Their monthly house rent is Rs 9,000. His two sons do odd jobs once in a while to help the family.