Faizabad’s good Samaritan suffers in abject poverty

Though awarded the Padma Shri for ensuring the last rites of thousands of unclaimed bodies, Mohammad Shareef is unable to afford medical care

An 83-year-old Faizabad resident, who is said to have arranged for the last rites over 25,000 unclaimed bodies in the last 25 years and was chosen for a Padma Shri last year, is suffering from serious ailments but unable to afford the cost of treatment.

Mohammad Shareef, also known as the messiah of unclaimed bodies, was lying bed-ridden when this correspondent visited his home in Mohalla Khirki Ali Beg on Thursday.

With Shareef Chacha, as he is fondly called in his neighbourhood, lying virtually unconscious, his family members said they were still hoping for some pension to him against his award so that they could afford his treatment.

Mohammad Shareef’s son Shageer said they had got a letter from the Union Home Ministry last year informing his father that he was chosen for the Padma Shri. The letter dated January 31, 2020 from Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla further said the date for conferring the award upon him would be shortly communicated, said Shageer.

He said his father was chosen for the award on the recommendation of BJP MP Lallu Singh from Faizabad.

On being asked about the status of the award, Mr. Singh too expressed surprise and asked, “Has he still not received the award?… I will look into it”

Mr. Shageer said he worked as a chauffeur and earned just ₹7,000 a month to support the family. He added that his father’s treatment costs over ₹4,000 a month.

“We are having very difficult times. We are unable to meet even household expenses. Due to the lack of money, we are not able to afford even proper treatment for my father,” he said.

“Till recently, we depended upon a local doctor for his treatment. But due to the lack of money, we are not able to afford even that,” he rued.

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