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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 August 2018

Bodies of two Indian men who died in Abu Dhabi to reach home after mix-up

The body of one man may have been misidentified by colleagues who did not see it clearly before it was repatriated to India

The body of Nidhin Kottaron is to finally be repatriated to his family in India after an identification mix-up following his death in Abu Dhabi. Courtesy of Nidhin's family
The body of Nidhin Kottaron is to finally be repatriated to his family in India after an identification mix-up following his death in Abu Dhabi. Courtesy of Nidhin's family

The bodies of two men who died just a few days apart in Abu Dhabi are to be returned to their rightful homes in India - after an identification mix up that saw one of the bodies sent to the wrong family.

The bodies of the Indian men may have been misidentified and the body that should have been repatriated to southern Tamil Nadu state was wrongly sent to another family in Kerala state.

Officials and relatives said on Sunday that all paperwork had been completed for both grieving families in India to receive the correct mortal remains by Monday.

Nidhin Kottaron, 29, a supervisor from Kerala was found dead in company accommodation in the Ruwais region of Abu Dhabi on July 5. He was found hanged in a case of suspected suicide, according to Sunil Kumar, his relative and owner of Maximum Technical Contracting Company where Kottaron worked. His body was to be repatriated to Kerala on July 13 at 12.15am.

Kamachi Krishnan, 39, died of a heart attack on July 7 in Abu Dhabi, Indian officials said. His body was to be repatriated to Tamil Nadu on July 13 at 2pm.

Instead Krishnan’s body was wrongly identified as Kottaron’s and repatriated to Calicut, Kerala early on July 13, while Kottaron’s body stayed in Abu Dhabi.

Following the intervention of the Indian embassy and the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre, Kottaron’s body will be repatriated to Kerala early Monday.

The error was revealed early on July 13 at the mortuary in Abu Dhabi when Krishnan’s family said that the body shown to them was not his.

The colleagues who wrongly identified Kottaron’s body did not know him very well and may not have seen his face properly since it was partially covered with a cloth, said Mr Kumar, his relative.

“When I got a call from the morgue that there was a mix-up and that a body of another man was being sent to Nidhin’s (Kottaron) family, I called my employees in Kerala who were accompanying Nidhin’s body home to tell them to stop because it was the wrong one,” said Mr Kumar, who runs an electro-mechanical maintenance company.

He had not gone personally to the morgue to identify Kottaron because he sought to treasure memories of happier times.

“Nidhin was my wife’s relative. He was a good man, a very helpful person. Nobody knows why it (the suspected suicide) happened. I become nervous if I see dead bodies so I did not go to the morgue. I wanted to remember him from our last meeting. That is the memory I needed to keep rather than forever remember him in a coffin,” Mr Kumar said.

“The staff who went to the morgue did not regularly interact with Nidhin, they spoke more on the phone because he did not work in our Abu Dhabi office. They said they did not see the full face, they saw half the forehead and up to the lips, the remaining face was covered in white cloth. Maybe that is why the confusion happened. If I had gone I would have recognised him with or without the cloth.”

Mr Kumar was finally required to identify the body to confirm the mistake.

“I rushed to the mortuary because there was no other option for me. Maybe this was how it had to be, I had to see Nidhin like this even though I wanted to keep another memory,” he said.

Krishnan’s body in India was taken to a morgue after informing the police and authorities in Kerala.

The assistance of the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi was sought to reissue paperwork to clear the bodies and submit fresh paperwork.

Kottaron’s body will be repatriated from Abu Dhabi on a flight to Calicut, Kerala and onward to his home in Wayanad early on Monday and Krishnan’s body is being moved from Calicut to his home in Ramanad, a coastal district of Tamil Nadu.

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“Our primary concern was that the bodies had to reach the relatives. The wrong documents had accompanied one gentleman’s body and priority had to be given to coordinating efforts with immigration, the hospital and airline to quickly reissue documents needed,” said M. Rajamurugan, consular at the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi.

“No objection letters had to be issue so the bodies could be handed over to the family. We have confirmation from local authorities that it has all been cleared.”

Well-wishers of both families hope the last rites will be completed on Monday once the bodies reach the respective families in India.

“It has been a long journey. We hope the last rites will be tomorrow. Krishnan’s body has been handed over to relatives and now it’s on its way to home to Tamil Nadu,” said Shyam, a friend of the owner of the company Krishnan worked with, who helped with the formalities.

“We were astonished this happened because we had finished the paperwork, our formalities were complete before the mishap happened. We were to collect his body before the flight on Friday afternoon, but once we were permitted to see the body the relatives said it was the wrong body.”

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