Mumbai Watchman, Forced to Cycle to Rajouri due to Lockdown, Meets His Ailing Father in Chandigarh

CNN-News18

New Delhi: A week after his father suffered a stroke, forcing Mumbai watchman to undertake a cycle journey from to Rajouri, the duo finally met on Tuesday. After cycling for three days and then a truck ride for three more days, 36-year-old Arif reached Chandigarh on Tuesday, where he met his father at PGI, Chandigarh.

Arif told CNN-News18 that he hasn't been able to speak to his father as of now because he was sleeping "when I reached".

"I couldn't hold back my tears after seeing him," said Arif.

Doctors at PGI Chandigarh have recommended neurosurgery for Arif's father, Wazir Hussain, which is likely to be performed on Tuesday evening. "Doctors are telling me that my father's situation is better than what it was when he was brought in, but I am only hoping he will improve further after surgery," said Arif.

On April 1, Arif came to know that his father, a resident of Panjgrain village situated on along the Line of Control in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, had suffered a stroke and was critical. While Arif wanted to meet his father, there was no means of transport due to the national lockdown. A day later, a distraught Arif left Mumbai for Rajouri on a bicycle.

After CNN-News18 reported his plight, the CRPF under its 'Madadgar' scheme rushed in to help. The CRPF on Monday met Arif in Jodhpur and provided its vehicle to bring him to Chandigarh. Earlier, the CRPF had arranged for Arif's father to be brought to PGI Chandigarh.

"The CRPF has really helped me with food, vehicle, a face mask, everything. We have driven all night from Jodhpur and am hoping to see my father soon," Arif had said on Tuesday morning when he was crossing Ludhiana.

Arif's plight has moved officials involved in this operation.

"I am waiting for him to meet his father and hug him. That will bring me great joy. For this reason, the ability to serve, I love this job," said a senior officer posted in Jammu who did not wish to be named.

CRPF Special DG Zulfiqar Hasan, who moved the machinery, spoke to his batchmates in Rajasthan and Gujarat to arrange curfew pass for Arif and monitored this operation. He also expressed joy at the way the operation ended.

"It does give you satisfaction when 'Madadgar' makes a difference. When the old man was first taken to the local village doctor, they just have him some tablet and sent him off. Such is the state of affairs. That the CRPF could help in time is great. This was the reason the CRPF started the 'madadgar' scheme," he said.

PGI Chandigarh will conduct a procedure on Arif's father and insert a stent to help him recover, said officials.