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Meet Srinagar’s COVID-19 warrior; an ambulance driver who also helps with funeral rites

Srinagar: An ambulance driver from Srinagar is being hailed a coronavirus warrior for his selfless service in not only ferrying thousands of COVID-19 patients to hospitals but also for assisting in funeral rites of the dead COVID-19 patients.

Jamil Ahmed had been assigned the job to carry COVID-19 infected patients to hospital in some cases ended up digging graves for the dead as their relatives refused to come forward for fear of contracting the infection. He has, so far, driven more than 8,000 COVID positive patients to hospitals in Srinagar. Out of 302 deaths in Jammu and Kashmir, 85 people died in Srinagar and 70 of them were taken to crematorium by him. Jamil’s ambulance is now kept only for COVID patients.

According to Jamil, the fear of COVID is so high that when an ambulance siren buzzes the grave diggers flee from the cemetery leaving their tools behind. He then completes the unfinished job of digging graves. He says my work will be rewarded by God.

Jamil says, “I have taken about 80% of the COVID patients in this ambulance, I did not take the dead bodies because I will get any medal, I did for Allah (God) and Allah will reward me because these people are helpless, their family are helpless, someone has to come forward, we ask Allah for help.”

He has instructed his family members to stay at home because he does not want anyone to get into any trouble because of him as he spends much timke among infected people. He himself has stopped visiting friends and relatives.

Jamil says, “I do not allow my wife to go anywhere, nor do I allow my children, I myself do not go to my in-laws house, I do not want anyone to have trouble with me but thank God my family is safe,” he added “If one works with sincerity then Allah helps, I have assured my family members that God is there to keep us protected.”

Jamil says whoever has died due to COVID in Srinagar has been picked up in his ambulance. He has not only taken Muslim dead bodies to graves but also Hindu Sikh dead bodies to the cremation ground in Srinagar. Jamil says he will continue his service as long his body supports.

Jammu and Kashmir’s tally of COVID-19 cases have crossed the 18,000 mark and 3 to 4 hundred positive cases are reported every day while the death toll is 300 out of which the maximum cases are from Srinagar district of Kashmir.