Founder of Bhagat Singh Lok Sewa Dal, Jeetendra Singh Shunty, was conferred with the highest civilian award Padma Shri on November 9 for engaging in the social service of poor people for over 25 years. Shunty and his team relentlessly ran ambulances and ferries to help the patients reach the hospital on time and cremated 4,000 unclaimed dead bodies during the COVID pandemic as he decided to dedicate his award to all the members of Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal and the COVID warriors.
'Will Take It As Challenge'
"I believe this award (Padma Shri) is a responsibility and a trust the President of India has bestowed upon us for continuing the social work. I will take it as a challenge," Jitender Singh Shunty was quoted as saying by NDTV.
President Kovind presents Padma Shri to Shri Jitender Singh Shunty for Social Work. A social activist in Delhi, he cremates unclaimed corpses with all due dignity. pic.twitter.com/AFFbBoZLJI— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) November 9, 2021
Reminiscing about his journey, Shunty said that he was born and raised in a low-income family. He lost his father at an early age and had to take up odd jobs to fend for the family. In 1995 after trying his hands at various things, his business picked up and the idea to start 'Lok Sewa Dal' occurred to him. The organisation was established to save lives by promoting the availability, accessibility and effectiveness of emergency services.
While talking about his inspiration behind the Lok Sewa Dal, he said: "I am a follower of Bhagat Singh, who was executed at 23. I belong to a (Sikh) community that believes in 'Sewa (service), and since childhood, we have heard, "Deh shiva bar mohe ihai, smore Karman te kabhun a Taron, na Doron ar syon jab Jaye Laron, nischay kar apni jeet Karon" (O power of Akaal, give me this boon, may I never shirk from doing good deeds. That I shall not fear when I go into combat. And with determination I shall be victorious).
'Prepare For The Future And Help Everyone'
Since the inception of the Dal, Shunty and his team have cremated over 56,000 unclaimed dead bodies. The team worked tirelessly for 18 hours during Covid-19 and cremated over 4,000 unclaimed dead bodies. Shunty continued working even after getting infected himself. He also arranged for first aid courses and dead body management courses for his team. While signing off, Shunty gave the message of preparing for the future and helping one and all.