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Charity in the name of Saddam

A Mumbai doc provides free treatment to hundreds in memory of the Iraqi leader, reports Manish Pachouly.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2007 04:58 IST

Even after his death, Saddam continues to rule the hearts of some in India.
A doctor in Dharavi, who is a diehard fan of the former Iraqi dictator, has been treating patients free of cost on the condition that they should pray for the departed soul of the hanged leader.

Dr Kadir Shaikh has decided to provide free treatment to a thousand patients and is already through with about 750 people. "The free treatment started from December 31. I thought in three days I would treat 1,000 patients," said the doctor. As he did not find 1,000 patients, he extended the facility.

Dr Shaikh checking Manju Waghela as her father Devkaran (extreme right) looks on. (Photo: Hemant Padalkar/HT)

Shaikh said Saddam was a real hero and that he "condemned his execution". He said that after hearing about the execution, he decided to do something in the memory of his hero. "I did not prefer a rally as it would have caused a law and order problem," said Shaikh, adding that providing free treatment was a work of humanity and would be the best tribute to Saddam.

Shaikh treated patients for ailments like fever, body pain, cold and stomach ache. In some cases, he even gave a day's medicines free of cost. "I also wrote prescriptions for some patients who had major ailments and advised them on the tests they should undergo," said the doctor.

On the first day of his charity work, Shaikh treated 300 patients. "I don't have work and there is not enough money for food. During such a crisis, this has come as a blessing," said 60-year-old Devkaran Waghela who visited the doctor on Thursday along with his wife Dharmi and daughter Manju. While Dharmi has a heart problem and she had come for a routine check-up, Manju was suffering from fever.

Prabhu Yadav (28), who too is a great admirer of Saddam, visited Shaikh to be cured of stomach ache. "May Saddam's soul rest in peace," Yadav said after the treatment.

Twenty-seven-year-old local shopkeeper Janendra Tiwari, who received treatment on Tuesday for cold and fever, said that he even got medicines free of cost.

Mohammed Gaffoor (38), a waiter from a hotel opposite Shaikh's clinic. He had visited the doctor on December 31. "I had body pain and fever. The check-up and medicine was free of cost," said Gaffoor who too believe that Saddam was a real life hero.

Shaikh said that he organises free medical camp once every year for various vaccinations including hepatitis B, but "this is special".

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First Published: Jan 04, 2007 22:38 IST