Dubai bus crash: Victims' families mark 1st anniversary with charity, prayers
The Oman-registered bus was transporting 30 passengers from Muscat to Dubai on June 6, 2019.
It has been a year since an extended Eid Al Fitr break turned tragic after a bus crash in Dubai claimed 17 lives. For the families of the victims, the wound is still raw. Relatives marked the day in a solemn fashion, with some opting to give charity and others holding prayer vigils.
The Oman-registered bus was transporting 30 passengers from Muscat to Dubai on June 6, 2019, when it crashed into a height restriction barrier - minutes before it was to reach its destination.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, many families - who have now relocated to India - said today serves a reminder of "that tragic incident" which changed their lives forever.
'My grandson survived, but both his parents died'
Seventy-one year old Gafoor Thankar who lives in Thane, Maharashtra, is taking care of his 21-year-old grandson Zidan Pathan.
Recalling the incident that orphaned his grandson, Thankar said: "Now Zidan has only us. He has been with us for the past one year.
My daughter Reshma and son-in-law Firoz passed away in the bus accident. Zidan was also travelling in the same bus with his parents, but luckily he survived."
He said today is a day of tribute for the deceased. "My children are long gone, but in their memory, we gave some money and a few things to some needy people in the vicinity as one can't travel too far due to the lockdown. Our grandson is still studying and we find it challenging to support all his financial needs, especially given my advanced age."
'She lost her husband, son'
Dubai resident FE, who spoke to his deceased uncle's family back in Kerala, said the family is marking the death anniversary by holding a private prayer ceremony with immediate family members.
"My aunt Sareena keeps remembering her husband Omar and her son Nabeel, who was only 26 when he died. She keeps saying that had he been alive he would have been married by now. It was the family's dream to see Nabeel get married. My uncle and my cousin were the two breadwinners of the family and with both of them gone now, it's been really difficult emotionally, psychologically and financially for the rest of the family back home."
'Husband was the only breadwinner in the family'
Usha Khelani who is now in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, at her parental home, was choking up recalling the crash that claimed her husband's life.
She said: "On the occasion of my husband's first death anniversary, we distributed some food and essential supplies to the poor in our neighbourhood. After Vasudev passed away, I came back to my parental home here with my son and my daughter. He was the only breadwinner of our family. I don't work. Here, my parents and my brothers support me and my children now."
Small prayer meet for late husband
Manisha Thakur is organising a small prayer meet today marking the death anniversary of her husband Vikram who was travelling in the ill-fated bus. Having been married for eight years, Manisha said the last one year without him has been "emotionally turbulent".
"This morning, I went and distributed milk, biscuits and fruits to a children's hospital here in my husband's name. My parents have also organised a small gathering as a day of remembrance for my husband. Not many people will be able to attend it due to movement restrictions and social distancing measures because of Covid-19, but this prayer service will be held," she said.
Manisha also lost a cousin, Roshni Moolchandani, in the accident.
She added she went to Pune after Vikram's death. "But I intend to come to Dubai. Due to the lockdown, I am stuck here, but eventually I wish to return to Dubai and work there again."
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