Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Delhi's suicide stopper

Not many people know him, but those who do remember him as the man who gave them a new lease of life when they wanted to end it.

Delhi boatman Abdul Sattar has spent the last 20 years saving people from committing suicide. Sattar is known in Wazirabad - Delhi’s suicide point - as death's nemesis. When not working as a boatman, he keeps a keen eye on Yamuna’s banks.

"It happens the most when the Class X and XII results come out. Even others do it. When I rescue them, they are usually angry. They say, why did you stop me," says Sattar.

Even if those he saves are not happy, their families are. Sometimes that even means huge rewards for Sattar who says nearly 100 unhappy people come to the river every month to end their lives.

When he drags them out, they get his advice for free. "I tell them God has given you one life – don’t give up, fight on," he says.

Abdul is now helped by a volunteer band of suicide stoppers. “It feels good saving people and giving them a new life,” says a volunteer Ganesh.

Rich people, poor people, children who are unhappy with their marks to men who cant pay off their debts, Sattar says he has saved more than 1,000 people in the past two decades. The reason? He has a very simple philosophy: to give life a second chance.

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