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Air India Express crash: Victim donated money to feed the poor before boarding flight

anjana@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 8, 2020
Pilassery, Sharafu Pilassery, Air India Express crash, Sharjah, kerala

Pilassery, 35, who worked as a salesman in Sharjah, is among the 18 who died in the Air India Express crash.

It was typical of Sharafu Pilassery to go out of his way to help the needy. But in the morning of August 7, when he pulled out the last few dirhams from his wallet and asked his friend to feed the poor, the Keralite expat did not know it would be his last act of charity. 

Pilassery, 35, who worked as a salesman in Sharjah, is among the 18 who died in the Air India Express crash at Karipur international airport in Kozhikode, Kerala. 

His wife Ameena Sherin is safe but their daughter Isa Fathima is struggling for her life at Kozhikode Medical College, according to reports.

His last picture on Facebook, taken with his family, was shared with a caption, "Back to home!".

"I can never forget our last meeting.. He came to my restaurant on Friday morning and pulled out some cash from his purse and told me to feed the poor," Pilassery's friend Shafi Parakkulam told Khaleej Times.

Parakkulam said he had been feeding people affected by coronavirus outbreak at his Al Shawamik restaurant in Sharjah.

"I have a board hung at my restaurant saying people who are hungry and without money don't have to pay for food. I could run this charitable endeavour because of people like Sharafu. He was a kind-hearted soul who had helped many during this pandemic," said Parakkulam.

"I met him at the restaurant two years ago and became close to him. He was a good-hearted and kind person who was always eager to help others in need. I still cannot believe that he is no more."

In an emotional post on Facebook, Parakkulam said Pilassery appeared to have a hunch about the tragedy that was to befall him when he said goodbye.

"Before he left for Kerala, he came to my hotel to say goodbye. He was visibly upset and said, 'I don't know why I feel tense about going back home'."

Parakkulam said he still couldn't forget the tears he saw in his friend's eyes. "I want to fulfil his last wish. I am contacting social workers to identify a workers' camp to give free food. I want to honour my friend, who always believed in helping others," he said.

author

Anjana Sankar

Anjana Sankar is a UAE-based journalist chasing global stories of conflict, migration and human rights. She has reported from the frontlines of the wars in Yemen and Syria and has extensively written on the refugee crisis in Bangladesh, Iraq and Europe. From interviewing Daesh militants to embedding with the UAE army in Yemen, and covering earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks and elections, she has come out scathe-free from the most dangerous conflict zones of the world. Riding on over 14 years of experience, Anjana currently is an Assistant Editor with Khaleej Times and leads the reporting team. She often speaks about women empowerment on her Facebook page that has 40,000 plus followers.


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