The journey of a watchman from Mumbai to his village along the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir’s Rajouri district has finally come to an end.
Mohammed Arif (36), who had started his journey on a bicycle in the first week April, days after the coronavirus-induced lockdown was imposed across the country, reached home on Tuesday.
He spent almost a month in Chandigarh where his father was undergoing treatment. Arif expressed his gratitude for all the help he received over the last few days. "’Bahut shukriya madam, hum log ghar pahunch gaye hain’ (Thanks a lot, Madam. We have reached home)," an emotional Arif told CNN-News18.
On Sunday night, in a video message to CNN-News18, Arif had appealed for help to be sent home. His father was heard thanking everyone was saving his life, while urging that he be allowed to go home. "I want to home and see my grandkids," he said. The CRPF took note of the appeal and arranged for the watchman and his father to be taken home.
Arif's father Wazir Hussain Hussain had suffered a stroke on April 1 in the remote village of Jammu. He had a successful neurosurgery in April and were living in the Chandigarh CRPF camp since April 17.
"Doctors come to check on my father daily, but no one is telling us when we can go home. My father is getting restless," Arif had said on Sunday.
A CRPF officer said there were quarantine protocols that had to be followed and hence, the watchman's return home was taking time.
"He will be in home qurantine. His father has completely recovered,” Zulfiqar Hasan, the CRPF Special DG who personally monitored Arf’s case, told CNN-News18.
With the lockdown in place, Arif was unable to find any public transport to take him home when his father fell critically ill. He then decided to cycle 2100km, but the CRPF came to his rescue after his plight was highlighted. The CRPF’s ‘Madadgaar’ team provided transport to Arif and airlifted his father to Jammu and then to Chandigarh. Arif was picked up from Vadodara and taken to Jodhpur and then Chandigarh.
A CRPF officer said that close to Rs 50,000 was spent on treatment of Arif's father and the force will continue to take care of him till he recovers completely and is given the green signal for travel to Rajouri.
On Wednesday, the CRPF posted pictures of Arif in his Rajouri home and wrote, "The end if often a beginning."