After ferrying Covid-19 patients and victims to their last rites for over six months, 48-year-old, Aarif Khan succumbed to the viral infection on Saturday morning in the national capital’s Hindu Rao Hospital.
Khan who slept in an ambulance parking lot nearly 28 km from his residence in East Delhi’s Seelampur area, kept in contact with his family over the phone. Employed with the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, which provides free emergency ambulance services in Delhi- NCR, Khan was available 24x7 on call and he ferried Covid-19 victims for their last rites. He would often pitch in money for the last rituals if any family was in need or required help, Indian Express reported.
Khan ensured everyone got a farewell but his own family couldn’t give him that. They just saw his body from afar, Jitender Kumar, Khan’s colleague told reporters. Over a span of the last six months, Khan would have ferried around 200 Covid-19 victims.
After testing positive for coronavirus on October 3, Khan succumbed to the disease a day after getting admitted to the hospital.
“We met when he came over to pick essentials, like clothes. I used to go to check on him sometimes as we were always worried about him. But he never bothered about Covid, he just wanted to do his job well,” Khan’s 22-year-old son, Aadil said. We just saw him during brief visits to home since March 21 and the last time he came home he was already sick, he added.
Khan used to earn Rs 16,000 a month and was the sole bread earner of the family. “Pariwaar ke liye dukh ka pahaad toot gaya hai (It is a huge blow for the family),” Kumar who was present at Khan’s funeral told media.
Jitender Singh Shunty, the founder of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal said that even though Khan was a Muslim but he used to help in the cremation rituals of Hindus as well. He was very dedicated to his work and often worked 2-14 hours a day, responding to calls even as late as 3 am.