Mohammad Shareef, an 83-year-old Faizabad resident, is thought to have arranged last rites for over 25,000 unclaimed bodies in the previous 25 years.
He was chosen for a Padma Shri last year and is experiencing severe ailments but cannot afford treatment due to poverty and has been bed-ridden at his home in Mohalla Khirki Ali Beg in Ayodhya.
With Shareef Chacha, as he is fondly called in his neighborhood, lying nearly drunk on his bed, his family members said they were hoping for some pension to him contrary to his award so that they could afford his treatment.
Mohammad Shareef’s son Shageer said they obtained a letter from the Union Home Ministry last year informing his father that he was picked for the Padma Shri award. The letter dated January 31, 2020, from Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla further said the date for conferring the award on him could be shortly communicated, said Shageer.