A Kashmiri father of a three-year-old child, who was discharged after two heart surgeries at AIIMS Delhi in a span of eight days last month, is left with only prayers as his son has developed breathing problems and because of the prolonged lockdown, the family is unable to get the required medical care for the child.
"We have been staying in a rented accommodation in Delhi. I am running short of money," says Nisar Ahmad Magray, a 38-year-old labourer from Abhama village in Pulwama district in Kashmir.
The distraught father says last month when the surgeries of his son, Magray Taha, were conducted successfully, the family was overjoyed.
Nisar now wants to go back to his village, but is stuck in Delhi's Adarsh Nagar (near Majlis Park, north-west Delhi) at a rented accommodation of Rs 13,500 per month with his son, wife and nephew Manzoor.
He tried to go to Pulwama by an ambulance, but was asked to pay Rs 60,000 for the facility, with no guarantee -- in view of the nationwide lockdown -- that he would be dropped at his village.
"I somehow managed to pay the rent this month even though the Delhi government has told landlords not to ask for the monthly rent".
The biggest problem Nisar is facing is the survival of his son as he is facing breathing problems in the basement accommodation.
"I came here on November 18 last year after my son was referred to the AIIMS by Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science (SKIMS). The arteries of my son's heart were blocked. I have spent lakhs of rupees for his treatment and borrowed money from relatives and friends. Now that the surgeries are over, I am not able to provide him with proper care," Nisar told IANS.
"My son must survive," he said.
"Taha's first open-heart surgery took place on March 1 and second came eight days later. It was the happiest moment of my life when he was discharged from AIIMS on March 26," said Nisar.
"But, now we are stuck here due to lockdown."
He says he has contacted everybody to help him in reaching his home.
"I am now left with little money. I tried to take help from an ambulance but the driver asked me to pay Rs 60,000 from one-way trip to Kashmir, but he gave us no assurance of dropping me in Pulwama. I cannot afford that, nor can I afford to pay for food and medicines. I appeal for immediate help."
"I recently paid Rs 1,600 to an ambulance for a visit to AIIMS for a follow-up checkup," said Nisar.
"My son needs a lot of care and hygiene. I want to take him back home, but don't know what to do. I am not getting any information such as whether the government has any plans to allow movement of patients stuck in Delhi. I have knocked every door, but have not got any response. Please help us," Magray said.
Hundreds of Kashmiris like Nisar and others belonging to different states are stuck in Delhi and other places across the country due to lockdown.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 declared a 21-day nationwide lockdown to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19 disease which has claimed over 70 lives across the country.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at email@example.com)
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