It was only on April 19, that 19-year-old Parvez Ansari’s family, based in Ranchi of Jharkhand, had been able to catch hold of him via a video call. They were shocked to see him starved and ailing at a rented flat of Rabari colony in Amraiwadi of Ahmedabad, unable to return home due to the lockdown. Parvez’s phone had been switched off since then.
The same day, Parvez was rescued from his flat by the police and admitted to the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital. A second video call did take place on Friday evening, but it was from a local NGO to Parvez’s family — his mother, two elder sisters and an elder brother — to show them his final rites being carried out. Parvez died of tuberculosis (TB) on April 23, doctors said.
When Parvez’s family had first seen his condition, they had asked him to record a video message seeking help. His family had sent the video to Jharkhand authorities, who had then notified Ahmedabad Police. Between April 19 and 23, Parvez was in the transit ward of the civil hospital, without any relatives or acquaintances by his side.
“The family was notified by the police on Thursday night that Parvez had died due to TB. They are still in shock because after the matter was raised on social media, they had hoped that their boy could be saved. The police had informed them that they can keep the body for seven days and the family can access it until then. However, his family is extremely poor and can’t travel during the lockdown. We sought help from local NGOs to help bury Parvez and make his family see him for the last time,” said Firdous Idris, a neighbour of the Ansari family back in Ranchi.
“We arranged for a few volunteers who helped us in taking out the body from the morgue of the civil hospital. We had a Muslim cleric with us, so the volunteers washed Parvez’s body as per the rituals. Later, he was taken to the burial ground near Jhumka Minara in Gomtipur. We video called the family, so that they could see the final rites,” said Chandani Nebhnani (34), who runs Chandani Foundation — the NGO that made arrangements for Parvez’s final rites.
“The patient was suffering from bilateral pulmonary tuberculosis… He had no one by his side all week. His post mortem has been conducted and reports are awaited to determine the exact cause of death. He had tested negative for COVID-19,” said Dr Jeetu Parikh of the civil hospital.
Parvez had arrived in Ahmedabad one-and-a half-years ago, where he worked odd jobs to make a living. Earlier in January, he had returned to Ranchi to spend two months at home. His family members claim that Parvez was in perfect shape back then.
It was only in March that Parvez had left for Ahmedabad, but he couldn’t find any work. His family had asked him to return, but Parvez wished to stay back. The family claims that around March 20, Parvez fell sick with incessant coughing and fever. Paranoid, they asked him to return, but with no money and the subsequent nationwide lockdown, he was unable to travel back home.
With the completion of the burial, tougher days lie ahead for the poverty-stricken family that has lost its youngest member.
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