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Husband of pregnant woman who filed India repatriation petition dies in Dubai

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on June 9, 2020 | Last updated on June 9, 2020 at 06.45 am
indian expat dies, covid-19, coronavirus, nithin


It is suspected that Nithin may have died due to heart-related complication, as he had a history of heart disease.

A Dubai-based Indian expat who had filed a repatriation petition to the Supreme Court of India to fly his pregnant wife to Kerala, India has died in his sleep, according to close friends and relatives.

Twenty-nine-year-old Nithin Chandran, a mechanical engineer in Dubai, passed away early morning on Monday, June 8, according to close friends and volunteers of INCAS Youth Wing, a community group where Nithin was an active member.

Chandran's wife Athira Geetha Sreedharan (27) was on the first Vande Bharat Mission flight from Dubai to Kozhikode, which flew out on May 7. The couple gained much attention from the media after Athira filed a writ petition to India's apex court, seeking help to return home to deliver the couple's first baby.

Cause of death: Suspected heart disorder

Though a death notification and the Dubai Police report is yet to be issued, it is suspected that Nithin may have died due to heart-related complication, as he had a history of heart disease, according to Hyder Kodanad Thattathazhath, president of Incas Youth Wing.

Close friends and social workers have moved Nithin's mortal remains to the Dubai Police mortuary near Al Twar in Dubai, and are hoping to repatriate him to India for the final rites.

Advocate Hashik TK, a senior legal consultant who is handling Nithin's case said, "His Covid-19 test has returned negative. We are trying to repatriate his mortal remains to India by tomorrow (Tuesday, June 9) or maximum by Wednesday. We are in the process of obtaining the death notification and police report.

"As soon as it is in, we will be sending the remains to his hometown in Kozhikode, Kerala."

Death leaves friends and community in shock

Following his wife's departure to India, Nithin had moved into a bachelor's accommodation in International City last week. Thattathazhath said, "He was living with two roommates. This morning, when his roommates were trying to wake him up to leave for work, he wouldn't get up. Immediately, they called for medical help. He may have passed away in his sleep the previous night."

Nithin's closest friend, Bibin Jacob, said, "We just celebrated his 29th birthday on June 2. Our group of friends and INCAS volunteers are working hard to complete the formalities to repatriate him as soon as possible. We are sure it has to be a heart attack as he had some complications with his heart and was admitted to Rashid Hospital in November last year. He was hospitalised for six days."

Thattathazhath also said Nithin's wife, Athira, has been admitted to a hospital near her residence as she is only a few weeks away from delivering her baby. "She has been moved to a hospital to avoid any kind of harm to their baby," he said.  

Gave up his seat on the repatriation flight

The couple had interviewed with Khaleej Times ahead of their departure to Kerala, and decided to deliver their baby in India since he was an employee in the construction sector and was at high risk of exposure. Though Nithin was supposed to fly with his wife to Kerala, he decided to stay back to not waste a seat on the emergency repatriation flights.

On May 6, he told Khaleej Times, "I am always exposed to several thousand people per day. We were worried about putting her (Athira) and the baby's life at risk." He added, "More than a decision from the Apex Court, our act raised a lot of awareness into the situation being faced by couples such as ourselves here in the UAE. There are so many pregnant families who are here on a visit visa and don't have medical insurance, or husbands have lost their jobs."

Tributes pour in for 'tireless social worker'

Nithin was active in social service with the Blood Donors Kerala-UAE Chapter and INCAS Youth Wing. He spearheaded the organisation of blood donation drives organised by INCAS and was also distributing food kits to those affected by the pandemic, said Nithin's friend Bibin. "He was also in-charge of the Incas Youth Wing Medical Wing, where he would actively organise medical events," said Thattathazhath.

Adv Hashik said, "I cannot believe this happened. I had met him at the airport on May 7. He was such an earnest and kind man. I have left all my other responsibilities to ensure we can do whatever needs to be done for the family."

Social worker Naseer Vatanapally said, "Only six days ago, he celebrated his 29th birthday. He left us quietly last night. He was so active in social and cultural events and worked tirelessly, especially in organising blood donation camps."


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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