Srinagar, Apr 5: The Rajouri man, who is still on his way back home four days after he left on a cycle from Mumbai, has finally received some help from the authorities.
Working as a watchman in Mumbai, Mohammed Arif left for Jammu and Kashmir on a cycle on April 2 to be with his critically ill father.
Arif (36) said that on reaching Gujarat, the state police offered him help and put him in a truck that will take him ahead on his journey.
On Sunday morning, Arif said he has reached the Gujarat-Rajasthan border. “I cycled all night. I received multiple calls from officers who were discouraging me from going forward because of the lockdown but I was determined,” he said.
“This morning, Gujarat police personnel put me on a truck and also gave me food to eat,” he added.
Meanwhile, officers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF) went to Arif’s home in Rajouri district and took his father, who suffered a stroke recently, to the district hospital under its Madagaar Scheme.
“His father’s condition is serious. Some tests and procedures will be carried out on Sunday. If required, we will shift him to the Narayana Hospital in Katra,” said Special DG (CRPF) Zulfikar Hasan.
“Without a curfew pass it will be difficult for him. One of our CRPF Madadgar boys is from his village. So we tried telling him that we will take care of your father.
You don’t travel further, but he wasn’t convinced,” Hassan said.
On Thursday Arif had told The Kashmir Monitor how he resorted to desperate measures to cycle 2100 kilometres to meet his father who was hit in his head during a scuffle.
“I got a call in the afternoon that my father has suffered a hemorrhage after he was attacked by relatives. He was shifted to hospital where his condition is stated to be critical. I called him but he only wants to see me for the last time,” Arif told The Kashmir Monitor on April 2.
Not being able to find a way out amid the lockdown that is in place in view of the coronavirus pandemic, Arif bought a fellow watchman’s cycle for Rs 500 and started an ardous journey back home.
Working as a watchman in Mumbai Central, the 29-year-old had arrived in Mumbai just a month ago to start his life afresh after spending 11 months in jail at Abu Dhabi.
“I was working as a driver in Abu Dhabi when I met with an accident. I did not have documents and I was jailed for 11 months. I returned home one and a half years ago. Last month I came to Mumbai to start life afresh”, he said on Thursday.
With the entire country locked down and public transport off the roads, he decided to cycle all the way from Mumbai to meet his father who is on the death bed.
On Saturday, he said only grocery shops were open along the way and he was surviving on biscuits and water.
Arif might reach Lakhanpur — the entry point to Jammu from Punjab side — on Sunday, but there are additional problems because of the lockdown.
The administration has made 14-days quarantine mandatory for anyone who is entering from the Lakhanpur, which is about four hours from Rajouri.
Officials are hoping to convince Arif to stay there while they take care of the medical needs of his father. Arif however says his father may be on his deathbed and he wants to meet him once. (With inputs from News18.com)