'I will fulfil his last wish,' says Anaj Mandi fire victim's childhood friend


Anaj Mandi fire victim Musharraf Ali made his last call to his friend Monu Agarwal. Mr. Agarwal promises to take care of Ali's family.

After nearly two decades, life has come full circle for Monu Agarwal, the friend Anaj Mandi fire victim Musharraf Ali made his last call to. “My last conversation with Musharraf is still echoing in my ears. He knew he would not survive the fire. He requested me to take care of his family. As his childhood friend and neighbour, I will fulfil his last wish,” said Mr. Agarwal.


Musharraf, a resident of Tanda Maidas village in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh, was among the 43 workers who died in the fire tragedy in Delhi on Sunday. He was buried in the village on Tuesday.

Tragedy repeats

“When I was eight years old, I lost my father. Musharraf’s father and other families in the area came forward to help us with food and other basic necessities. I can understand his family’s pain now,” said Mr. Agarwal, who owns a utensils shop in the village.

His friendship with Musharraf remained strong even after the latter moved to Delhi for work in 2007, said Mr. Agarwal. “One can understand the depth of our friendship from our last conversation. Musharraf was in extreme distress when he called me. After the call got disconnected, I tried to call back but no one responded. I thought he might have fallen unconscious and the firefighters must have rescued him,” he said.

Hope for relief

Mr. Agarwal said he did not inform Musharraf’s family about the call immediately. “After the call, I and two distant relatives of Musharraf left for Delhi. On reaching Anaj Mandi, we were asked to go to LNJP Hospital where we found his name in the list of casualties. I broke down and asked my family members to immediately go to Musharraf’s house and inform his family,” Mr. Agarwal said, adding that his deceased friend was a dedicated family man who took care of his mother, wife and four small children with his small salary of ₹10,000 per month. He hoped that like the Bihar government, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister will also announce some ex gratia relief for the families of the fire victims from the State.

Recalling Musharraf’s visit to the village last year, Mr. Agarwal said they and two other friends went on a short trip to a temple in Kotdwar.

“Musharraf came to the village recently on a week-long vacation. He left for Delhi on Friday. On Sunday, the tragedy took place,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:22:03 AM |

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