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BIDAR: Humanity First Foundation, a Bidar-based NGO, has been performing the last rites of COVID-19 patients ever since the epidemic broke out in 2020. Majeed Bilal, a small business owner who founded the NGO, says members have performed the last rites of over 700 bodies so far, irrespective of faith. The rituals of different religions were followed during the final rites. The services are free, though the NGO accepts donations. Mr. Bilal has spent a considerable amount of his own money on this service. At first, he converted a van that he used for his business into an ambulance and hearse. He rushed patients to hospitals and carried bodies from hospitals to the graveyards. Later, some philanthropists donated two hearses to the NGO.

He began the last rites after an incident near his house early in 2020. “An old woman had died, and even her children were afraid to go near the body. CMC personnel carried the body in an earthmover and threw it in a pit. I decided to start volunteering at conducting the last rites, and some of my friends joined me,” he said.