By Muslim Mirror Staff
Aarif Khan, an ambulance driver who had dedicated himself to ferry patients of Covid-19 as well as bodies to their last rites since March, succumbed to the virus on Saturday morning in New Delhi’s at Hindu Rao Hospital, a week after having tested positive for the disease, The Indian Express reported.
Khan would be on call 24X7, sleep in an ambulance parking lot, 28 km from his home, in North Delhi’s Seelampur and visit his family briefly, in order to pick up clothes and the like.
Despite earning only Rs 16,000 a month, his colleagues said that Khan would often help with money for the last rites if a family was in need, or help with the rituals if a deceased’s family could not.
Khan worked for the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, a non-government organisation, and provided ambulance services to patients of COVID in Delhi-NCR, NDTV reported. The NGO provides funeral services for those who succumb to the virus.
“Woh Muslim tha par Hinduon ke bhi daah-sanskaar karaata tha (He was a Muslim but he helped out even with cremations of Hindus)… He was very dedicated to his work,” said Jitender Singh Shunty, the founder of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, adding that Khan worked 12-14 hours a day, responding to calls even as late as 3 am.
“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 Kumar, adding that Khan would have ferried close to 200 bodies since March.
Jyot Jeet of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal posted a video on the Facebook page of the organisation and narrated how Aarif served people with dedication for the last 6-7 months.
Khan was the sole earning member of the family. Khan’s elder son, Asif, said, “I didn’t even get to say goodbye to him… How will we survive without him?”
On October 3, Khan fell sick and got a Covid-19 test done, which came positive. He died within a day of getting admitted to hospital.
After the death of Aarif, even the vice president of India Venkaiah Naidu condoled his death on Twitter. “My condolences to the bereaved family members of ambulance driver, Aarif Khan of Delhi. He rendered selfless service by ferrying close to 200 bodies of COVID-19 patients for their last rites. It is saddening to learn that he succumbed to the Coronavirus (sic),” he tweeted