SRINAGAR: A chowkidar at a Srinagar cremation ground is going above and beyond his job description to assist mourning non-Muslim relatives in completing the funeral rituals of their loved ones who died of Covid-19.
Shabir Ahmed, 24, claims he has done 60-70 cremations in the last nine months while stepping in for his father during the pandemic.
“I’ve been working at my father’s place 24×7. “My responsibility is to keep an eye on the cremation site,” Ahmed explained.
“Some of the bodies were delivered by the police and were of non-locals who had no family relations in the Valley.”
Some of the Covid victims were also security personnel from other regions of the country, notably CRPF constables.
“The administration is arranging for family members of such victims to be brought to Srinagar to attend their final rites.”
In the cremation ground operated by Sanathan Dharam Trust in Srinagar’s Batamaloo region, there are two more staff, both pujaris (priests).
“I arrange for firewood and other necessities. I’m doing it for humanitarian reasons because we need to be with each other at this trying time when Covid is snatching our loved ones,” Ahmed, who has yet to get PPE kits, added. When asked if his family was against him, Ahmed said, “No.” Many families compliment my services and inform me that I’m doing ‘punya ka kaam’ (charity work).”
“I am doing my part in fighting the coronavirus with my efforts, as doctors and frontline health workers have been working around the clock since last year to preserve precious lives,” he added.
From Some News Agency