The day after news about Javed Khan, an autorickshaw driver from Bhopal, who sold his wife’s jewellery to convert his autorickshaw into an ambulance for COVID-19 patients won the internet, Madhya Pradesh Police detained him on his way to the hospital.
Bhopal Police on Saturday registered an FIR against Khan, while he was on his way to Ayushman Hospital after receiving an emergency call. Khan was released later on Saturday following directions from Deputy Inspector General.
“There were barricades on the road and I asked them to move it as I was on an emergency call,” Khan told Maktoob. Khan made a video of him stopped by police. The video accessed by Maktoob shows police neglecting the request made by khan to let him pass through the barricade. Police detained him saying his service was ‘illegal’.
“Ambulance were asking 10,000 rupees to the patient. The patient was from a poor background. They somehow got my number and called me.” Says Khan. Although Javed Khan was booked under IPC 188, police revoked charges and released him.
Javed Khan has converted his autorickshaw into an ambulance with an oxygen cylinder, PPE kit, sanitiser as well as an oximeter and has been ferrying Covid patients for the past 20 days.
Khan, a resident of Aishbag, saved dozens of lives in the past week by timely ferrying COVID patients to hospitals free of cost rushing them free of cost. Father of three, Khan sold his wife’s gold necklace for Rs 5,000 to fund his mission of rendering the free auto-rickshaw ambulance to Covid and other patients.
“The images of people in distress moved my heart,” says the sole breadwinner of the family.
Besides selling his wife’s chain, the 34-year-old also stopped paying the instalment for his autorickshaw to ensure he doesn’t run out of resources in the coming days. He gets donations to refill oxygen cylinder and buy new PPE kit to continue his ambulance service. The seven kg oxygen cylinder fitted in the auto-rickshaw has been gifted by a social activist.
After revoking the FIR, police ensured Khan that he has permission to continue his service without hindrance. ” You can call me at anytime for an emergency. I will be available without hesitation,” Khan told Maktoob. He claims more drivers are ready to operate in a similar way if they are supported.
Meer Faisal from Delhi contributed to this report.