New Delhi: He is a self-taught diver who has lost count of how many lives he has saved and bodies he has fished out of Yamuna risking his own life.
Employed with the Delhi Boat Club for the past five years, 24-year-old Intezaar will be felicitated by the East Delhi Magistrate for his efforts.
"He is dedicated to his work and he is a good hand. We are going to recognise his efforts by giving him a citation," said District Magistrate (East) Kunal.
Asked about his reaction, the pint-sized man said his first rescue operation was at the age of 11.
Intezaar, who had grown up by the Yamuna bank, hails from a village called Jagatpur.
"I was born by the bank of Yamuna. My father would grow watermelon. When I was 10 years old, we shifted to Wazirabad. Then one evening, I along with a bunch of boys, was picking up coins from the banks of the Shamshan ghat, thrown by devotees, when I saw a woman jumping off the Wazirabad Bridge.
"It was instant. I just dived into the water and swam towards her, grabbed her by her hair and pulled her to the shore. There were CRPF personnel who informed the police and she was taken to hospital. She survived," said Intezaar, who was patted for his bravery by those CRPF personnel.
Since then, he has saved over 70 lives. After some time, he had become quite popular and police would seek his help to fish out bodies.
"I have pulled out stinking bodies rotting under water for days. I can go deep into the 40 feet of water without a mask. We usually go out looking for bodies on boat," he said.
Once he also rescued an old man who slipped into the river while feeding birds at the bridge. He was identified by the Boat Club authorities five years ago and was hired as a diver for the club.
"He along with some more divers keep petrolling near Yamuna banks. He is always available at a call. Whenever anyone commits suicide or a body is to be traced, Intezaar is summoned. He is smart, dedicated, agile and prompt," said Boat Club in-charge Harish Kumar.
However, ask Intezaar how it feels rescuing people, the young man says with a far away look, "I don't understand why people want to end their lives. Life is precious. Even a person like me who grew up with nothing, is making a living. I have a passion too... Saving lives from the macabre clutches of Yamuna."