NRIs plea for free repatriation of dead bodies

The killer told the police he stabbed the woman after she refused to pay him a debt of KD500. (Reuters)

Indian expats in the UAE are signing a petition to the Indian government asking for free repatriation of dead bodies to their home country.

For now, carriers charge a fee, determined by the weight of the body.

The signature campaign hopes to unburden expat community from bearing the cost of repatriation.

While the UAE law stipulates that the sponsor of the worker fund it, many times it’s not possible.

“Many countries like Pakistan offer the service free, and India should follow,” asserted Ashraf Thamaraserry, who has helped repatriate nearly 2,000 bodies from the UAE for free. “This will benefit everyone, and I urge everyone to come forward and sign this petition.”

He even requested the Indian government to offer discounted air-travel rates for families that accompany the body.

“It’s not easy for many families to pay for all this.”

“Air India charges Dh14.90 per kilo,” said Leo Radhakrishnan, head of news at RadioMe channel. “It’s unfortunate when even Air Arabia charges lesser at Dh9 per kilo.”

Another problem they focus is on the long-drawn and often confusing paper work.

Unlike other consulates, the Indian Consulate requires the family of the deceased to go twice to complete the paper work. “This is unnecessary and can be avoided. They should look at single-window procedure,” stressed Advocate Najeed, who also guides expat communities in paper work.

“In fact, the consulate should be the single point of contact for every Indian citizen, and the officials must help streamline the process.”

He added that many Indians are unaware of the actual procedure for repatriation. “So many times, people have to run around in circles unaware about how to go about it.”

Ashraf added there have been improvements in dealings with the Indian Consulate over such cases. “Indian Ambassador Seetharaman has helped improve the system, but that’s not enough. We need a permanent solution.”

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