Sanitary worker dies in Umerkot after fasting doctors refuse to touch his 'unclean' body

Published: June 2, 2017
Ifran Masih's family and community members staged a sit-along with his body on the inter-district road connecting Umerkot. PHOTO: Twitter

Ifran Masih's family and community members staged a sit-along with his body on the inter-district road connecting Umerkot. PHOTO: Twitter

UMERKOT: In yet another incident exposing the lack of conformity to safety rules and the alleged apathy of medical practitioners, a sanitary worker suffocated to death on Thursday in Umerkot. The deceased, 30-year-old Irfan Masih, fell unconscious along with three other sanitary staff while cleaning a manhole on Chorr Road in Umerkot.

He died hours later in the government hospital in front of doctors who were allegedly reluctant to treat him because Irfan was drenched in sewage sludge. The other three sanitary workers, Faisal Masih, Yaqoob Masih and Shaukat Masih, were referred to Hyderabad and later Karachi for medical treatment.

All of the workers fell unconscious while cleaning the central manhole, which had already claimed the lives of two sanitary workers, 25-year-old Krishan Gujrati and 28-year-old Nawaz Masih, in September 2012. Local residents pulled out the staff from the manhole and shifted them to the hospital.

“The doctors refused to treat him because they were fasting and said my son was ‘napaak [unclean]’,” claimed Irshad Masih, the mother of the deceased.

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Pervez Masih, Irfan’s brother, said that he cleaned his brother’s body, after which the doctors sent an oxygen cylinder. “But the cylinder was empty. And, before they could arrange another cylinder, he [Irfan] died,” he told local media.

After Irfan breathed his last at the hospital, the family, community and locals staged a sit-in demonstration, along with the body, on the inter-district road connecting Umerkot to other parts of Sindh. The protest lasted for 10 hours before ending on assurances by Additional Deputy Commissioner Subhash Chandar Sham that an inquiry would be conducted against the municipal authorities and doctors.

“An inquiry team is being constituted to investigate the case. If the municipal officers or doctors are found to be involved … the government will take action,” he told the local media.

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The protesting sanitary workers said that 60 daily wage workers are employed by the municipal committee in Umerkot. They alleged that the committee’s non-cadre officers Khalid Punjabi and Behari Lal compelled Irfan and others to work in the manhole without safety gear.

“They always threaten us with consequences of losing our jobs if we don’t obey their directives,” alleged Ghafoor Masih, a sanitary worker.

The municipal committee’s chairman or administrative officers could not be contacted for their versions.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Dr Zeeshan
    Jun 2, 2017 - 7:56PM

    No doctor does that! we treat every human irrespective of his caste religion or nationalityRecommend

  • Faisal ahmed
    Jun 2, 2017 - 8:28PM

    This is not islamic teaching. We should change our perspective regarding religious practices.that poor deceased sanitary worker was also human and we should respect values of humanity. Being a muslim I personally condemn such cruel act by culprits who were be involved including doctor who’s prime duty is to try for saving lives. ALLAH swt make us true Muslims. Recommend

  • Shan
    Jun 2, 2017 - 8:31PM

    This is so so bad.. how can a doctor do that. Your fasting will not work on judgment day when you will not perform your duties for humanity told by Allah.Recommend

  • azmat
    Jun 2, 2017 - 9:57PM

    he should have saved his life even if he had to break his fast or even 100 fasts. Allah would have been a lot happier with him if he had saved a life instead of a fastRecommend

  • Israr
    Jun 2, 2017 - 10:17PM

    Besides other legal proceedings, these doctors should be asked to clean their own gutters. And do so without getting smelly. Recommend

  • Shujaat
    Jun 2, 2017 - 11:45PM

    What happened to the land of Sufis
    Shahbaz qalandar, Shah Gazi, Bhitati… They all spread the message of love and humanity

    Heartbreaking to see their message has been replaced with radicalism Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Jun 3, 2017 - 12:56AM

    The WHY issue needs to be resolved!
    The media should observe if these workers are in fact not provided with safety gear when performing their necessary jobs! If that lack of provided safety gear is observed, then the corruption involved needs to be exposed!Recommend

  • AJ
    Jun 4, 2017 - 8:21AM

    Humanity is ashamedRecommend

  • Raza
    Jun 4, 2017 - 9:03PM

    Shame on the doctors!Recommend

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