Itanagar: “I didn’t even get a chance to bid him a final adieu which he truly deserved”, said Robin Hibu, the special commissioner of Delhi Police. Hibu was devastated to learn about the sudden passing away of Sardar Kuldeep Singh Chana, a man who loved the Northeast and its people as much as the ones living in the region do.
Chana, 54, breathed his last earlier this month following COVID-19 complications. It was just a few days before that he was busy cremating bodies of COVID-19 patients at the Punjabi Bagh crematorium in West Delhi.
As the person in charge of Punjabi Bagh crematorium for the past 14 years, Chana is believed to have cremated more than 750 bodies (including the unidentified and COVID-19 patients) in his lifetime with religious fervour.
Besides leading the cremation ceremony, he was also the one who was always seen reassuring the weeping families and loved ones.
Hibu said besides being a blacksmith by profession and an active social worker of Rajouri Garden, Chana was known for his love and affection he had for the Northeast and its people.
Right from mobilising ration for the stranded from the Northeast during the last lockdown and donating several units of blood to the NE Blood Bank, he was the one who always stood with the people of the region.
“Sardar Chana was the man who during last year’s COVID-19 crisis volunteered to carry out the cremation of all those in need from the Northeast. He was the one who lovingly cremated the body of an abandoned female from Manipur last year and that of one of our sisters from Gohpur, Assam, who died of Covid-19 at Safdarjung Hospital,” the Delhi top cop said.
The special commissioner said the last cremation Chana carried out of a Northeastern was that of late Sanasam Samsun Singh, a young man from Manipur, who died of COVID-19 at the DRDO Covid Centre in Delhi recently.
“He was also the one to help the people from the Northeast when it came to protests and mobilising logistics. He played a proactive role during the Nido Tania and Akha Salouni murder cases,” Hibu said.
Hibu, who is the first IPS officer from Arunachal Pradesh and the founder of the NGO Helping Hands, said he first met Chana in 2007 when he was the DCP of West Delhi.
They went on to have a strong bond right from their first meeting and Chana went on to become one of the founding members of Helping Hands.
The bond between Hibu and the Sardar was such that the latter named his grandson after the former.
“I am shattered today as I have lost yet another unflinching and selfless angel due to COVID-19. Late Chana always dreamed of visiting the Northeast. He used to tell me that he wanted to visit Cherrapunji in Meghalaya, the Loktak Lake in Manipur and also be a part of the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland. He also wanted to meet Guru Reuben Mashangva and Alobo Naga, his favourite musicians from the region,” Hibu said.
“We the people of the Northeast, especially the one living in the Delhi NCR will never forget our unique Sardar who loved the Northeast,” he said.