‘Why Opt for Shortcuts to Make Money When You Have to Meet Same Fate': Daily Wagers Who Dug Mukhtar Ansari’ – News18

Reported By: Oliver Fredrick
Edited By: Nitya Thirumalai
Last Updated: March 30, 2024, 17:12 IST
Ghazipur, India
On Saturday, Ansari was laid to rest at the Kali Bagh burial ground in Ghazipur’s Mohammadabad Darzi Tola about half a kilometre from his family's residence. (News18)
Girdhari Lal has been digging graves at burial grounds in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district for 20 years. But hardly has any day at work brought him so much press and political attention as March 30, 2024. For, this was the day he dug the grave of Mukhtar Ansari, the gangster-turned-politician who was lodged in Banda Jail.
“No matter who you are… No matter what degree you have… No matter how much money you made… we all have to meet the same fate,” said gravedigger Girdhari Lal while speaking to News18.
“Why opt for such shortcuts to earn money when we all have to meet the same fate? Why die as a criminal? Why not as a doctor, politician or someone from some other field?” he wondered.
The daily wager said he never thought he would one day be digging the grave of a dreaded gangster. “I am a daily wage labourer. I take up the work of digging graves too as I think it’s a way to serve the society. But I never ever thought in my wildest dreams that the day would come when I would be digging the grave of Mukhtar Ansari,” he said.
Ansari, a five-time MLA from Mau Sadar seat, was behind bars since 2005, and had over 60 criminal cases pending against him. On Thursday night, he was rushed to the Rani Durgawati Medical College when his health deteriorated. He died at the hospital during treatment.
On Saturday, Ansari was laid to rest at the Kali Bagh burial ground in Ghazipur’s Mohammadabad Darzi Tola about half a kilometre from his family’s residence. Girdhari Lal said former MLA was laid to rest five-feet from the grave of his father Subhanullah Ansari. The burial ground is also the final resting place of Ansari ancestors.
It took Girdhari Lal around six hours to dig the 7.6-feet long, 5-feet deep and 5-feet wide grave for Ansari. He gets paid Rs 500 for a day’s work. He was joined two other workers in digging Ansari’s grave, Nagina and Sanjay Kumar.
Speaking to News18, Sanjay Kumar said he is often asked why he digs graves being a Hindu himself.
“I strongly believe that we are all one and the same. At the end, we all have to return to the dust, be it by burial or by cremation. We are just a medium to give the dead decent last rites. I consider this very pious work and it hardly matters to me if the person is a criminal or a saint.”
The local administration had made elaborate security arrangements outside the burial ground and Ansari’s residence. After the post-mortem on Friday, a convoy carrying Ansari’s body left Banda for his native place in Ghazipur amid heavy security. The ambulance carrying the body was accompanied by police vehicles along the 400-kilometre route via several Uttar Pradesh districts.
His body was brought to his hometown around midnight on Friday and pre-burial rituals took place at the residence.
The body was taken to the Kali Bagh burial ground in a procession led by family members, including his son Umar Ansari and brother Afzal Ansari, who is also Ghazipur MP. A large crowd accompanied the procession and some also raised slogans.
A chief judicial magistrate’s court in Banda has ordered a judicial inquiry into the death of Mukhtar Ansari, seeking the report within a month. Ansari’s brother and Ghazipur MP Afzal Ansari has alleged that his brother was given “slow poison” in jail.


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