Srinagar: Mohammad Arif, the 36-year-old who had, last week, set out on an arduous 2,100 km bicycle ride from his place of work in Mumbai to his home in Jammu’s Rajouri district to meet his ailing father, finally heaved a sigh of relief Tuesday.
Arif managed to reach Chandigarh today with the help of the Central Reserve Police Force, whose officials from J&K zone had, meanwhile, brought his father, Wazir Hussain, to the city’s Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research. Hussain, who had had a stroke last week, will be operated upon at the facility after which the two will go home provided the condition of the patient remains stable.
“The doctors are saying that everything will be fine. I don’t know if it is true indeed or perhaps the doctors are giving me strength because they have learnt of my story. I am hoping that my father gets well,” says Arif, who worked as a security guard in the Mumbai Central area before he learnt that his father had suffered a brain hemorrhage.
Due to the ongoing lockdown in the country and suspension of all forms of transport, Arif decided to purchase a second-hand bicycle and ride it all the way from Mumbai to Rajouri in Jammu, around 2,100 km away. ThePrint was the first to report Arif’s long journey after he began cycling last Thursday.
The CRPF then took note of Arif’s plight and airlifted his father to Government Medical College in Jammu. Arif was subsequently intercepted in Vadodara, Gujarat, after having ridden more than 400 km. He was taken in by the paramilitary force, who also provided food and other assistance.
CRPF taking care of all expenses
Given that it was not possible for the CRPF to ferry him amid a lockdown, Arif was first sent to Jodhpur in a private truck carrying essentials. Then he was put in another truck to Ludhiana and then to Chandigarh where his father was brought in an ambulance.
CRPF special DG, Zulfikar Hasan, who personally overlooked the developments, says, “Mr Arif’s father was taken to Chandigarh last evening in an ambulance as the hospital in Jammu informed us that he needed specialist neurologist care. Tonight he will undergo a surgery”. Another CRPF officer said the paramilitary is taking care of all expenses incurred.
Meanwhile, Arif is still coming to terms with the fact that he finally managed to see his father. “If everything goes fine, we will return home to Rajouri. I will try to find work there. I want to be with my father now.” He also expressed gratitude to individuals and the paramilitary force for helping him.
Arif’s plight was first highlighted by a Mumbai-based social activist, Dipesh Tank, via a Facebook post, after which the story was carried by ThePrint. Subsequently CRPF swooped in and ensured the father-son union.