Mumbai Man embarks on a 2,100 km ride to J&K to see his ailing father;

Mumbai Man embarks on a 2,100 km ride to J&K to see his ailing father;

Mohammed Arif works as a watchman in Mumbai’s Bandra West region. On Thursday, he received news that his father, Hussain, who lives in Rajouri (Jammu and Kashmir) had suffered a brain stroke. Upon hearing the news, Arif rushed around to find suitable means of transport so he could get there as quickly as he could. 

But since the lockdown was imposed countrywide just a few days prior, he couldn’t find any. This is when he decided to make the 2,100 km journey on his bicycle, all the way from Mumbai to Rajouri.

Arif was spotted by social activist Dipesh Tank near the Kandivali Highway while distributing food and water to travellers. At this point, Arif had already travelled 30 km. It is said that as of Friday, he had completed around 130 km, with plenty more to go. 

While asked if he wasn’t concerned about the police stopping him on his way, Arif said that he was only stopped once, and they were sympathetic towards his cause, but they couldn’t help him in any way. When asked if he’s concerned about being stopped again, Arif said “I will request them to let me go.”

Read - Lifting Lockdown In Cities Like Mumbai Unlikely: Health Minister Rajesh Tope

In the meantime, Arif was also constantly trying to get in touch with his neighbours back in Rajouri to learn about his father’s health. He later said that the hospital had reportedly discharged his father, although family members had mentioned that he continues to be ill. 

It has now come to light that after the initial reports broke out, the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) intercepted Arif in Gujarat and gave him a ride to Jodhpur, Rajasthan. He will then travel to Punjab, and then onwards to Lakhanpur in Jammu.

Meanwhile, the CRPF also noted the details of his residence and reportedly sent a team to his home and airlifted his father to the hospital as there were no ambulances available. He was initially transferred to a district hospital, following which the doctors recommended taking him to the Government Medical College located in Jammu as this was deemed a critical case. It is said that Hussain remains to be in critical condition. 

Arif, meanwhile, still has some hurdles facing him as he gets to Jammu, the CRPF said. "We sent him to Jodhpur in a truck carrying essential items. Because there is a lockdown, we can’t ferry him so we are exploring other means to assist him. The idea is to reach Lakhanpur. Because the administration in J&K has a rule at the moment to quarantine everyone entering the state for 14 days, we are seeing how to go about it so Arif is able to see his father," a senior officer for the CRPF said.

It is said that the CRPF approached Arif and his ailing father upon receiving a request at the Madadgaar wing of the CRPF which is put in place to help civilians in need. This was reportedly done by a student of Jamia Millia Islamia who got in touch with friends in Jammu to reach out to the CRPF. 

Nearly two weeks ago, the country went into a momentary panic after the 21-day lockdown was announced. This included a mass exodus of migrant workers across the country. Following sharp criticism, arrangements for shelter, food, and transportation were made by the State and Central Governments.