Mohammad Shareef from Uttar Pradesh's Ayodhya, who performed the last rites of 25,000 unclaimed bodies in the last 25 years, is suffering from severe ailment but is unable to afford medical treatment due to poverty.
In January 2020, Mohammad Shareef, also known as "messiah of lawarais lashen", received a letter from the Union Home Ministry informing him that the government has chosen him for the Padma Shri award for his service. However, 'Shareef Chacha', as he is popularly called, has still not received the award.
The letter dates back to January 31, 2020, when Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla claimed that the date for conferring the award upon him would be announced shortly, Shageer said.
Shareef Chacha is a bicycle mechanic who performed the last rites of more than 25,000 unclaimed bodies in Faizabad and never differentiated anyone on the basis of religion. At present, he is bed-ridden at his home in Ayodhya's Mohalla Khirki Ali Beg, reported India Today.
His family members said that they are hoping for some pension from his award to afford his treatment.
He said his father was chosen on the recommendation of BJP MP Lallu Singh from Faizabad for the award. Singh also expressed surprise when asked about the status of the award and asked, "Has he not received the award yet?"
Talking to the media, Shageer said he worked as a private driver and earned ₹7,000 a month. On the other hand, the medical expenses of his father cost over ₹4,000 a month.
He said due to financial instability, they are unable to make ends meet. "Till recently, we depended upon a local doctor for his treatment. But due to the lack of money, we are not able to afford even that," he added.