“His name was Rampukar — but he didn’t tell me that. I only found out a few days later in a newspaper report. At the time, I couldn’t even ask him his name,” recalls Press Trust of India‘s chief photo correspondent Atul Yadav, “He was unable to say very much beyond ‘udhar (there)’ — which is where he was trying to go.”
On Monday, Yadav was driving through Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, when he spotted Rampukar Pandit (as identified by Hindi daily Hindustan) barely able to hold his phone to his ear. “It was at around 5.15 pm when I saw him sitting by the side of the road a little before the Yamuna bridge. I stopped my car and pulled over near him,” he tells Firstpost, adding, “I then rolled down my window and photographed the man before going and checking on him.”
Moved by the heart-wrenching visual he had just captured in his camera, Yadav went over to enquire after the distraught man’s situation. “His son had passed away and he was unable to go to him. When I asked him where it was he had to go, he repeatedly pointed in the general direction of the Yamuna bridge, saying ‘udhar‘,” explains Yadav, who recollects Rampukar later indicating that he had to go somewhere in Uttar Pradesh.
“While I was talking to him, some policemen came over and asked what was happening,” says Yadav, “I explained and offered to take him across the state border, but were told not to let him into my car. The cops told me to be on my way and that they would make sure he got home.” It would later transpire that udhar was in fact, Bariarpur in Bihar’s Begusarai. As per reports, Rampukar used to work in Delhi’s Nawada and upon hearing of his son’s death, tried to make his way home. Unfortunately, he had been stopped at the UP Gate for three days before being allowed to make the journey home.
Although the Constitution of the largest democracy in the world, India, promises equal opportunity to all its citizens, the poor and underprivileged have received the largest portion of police apathy, and government insensitivity