Friday, 16 April 2021 12:54 GMT

Qatar- Expat group in selfless service to the dead


(MENAFN - Gulf Times) It was four years ago that Indian expatriate Khalid found a helpless family after a compatriot died while on his way back home from a mosque at Najma in Doha.
Khalid consoled the family and volunteered to rush to the airport where he booked a cargo to repatriate the body.
Khalid, an employee with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), managed to complete the proceedings with the help of his friends and the body was sent within two days.
'Soon after I went home, I received a call inviting me for tea. The young man, who received me at the restaurant, told me that the man I helped was his uncle. He told me how invaluable my intervention was for family. That day, I decided to actively get involved in helping to repatriate bodies, Khalid recalled.
Khalid joined the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre's (KMMC) wing that repatriates the mortal remains of expatriates. Popularly known as Kallu, he is now the general convenor of the wing.
Named KMCC Al Ihsan Mayyith Paripalana Committee, it helps clear paper works, repatriate bodies, or perform last rites for burial in Qatar. 'There were individuals and groups helping expatriates to complete the formalities. A well set up system was brought in after the committee started functioning in 1995, says Mehaboob Nalakath, chairman of the committee.
To repatriate mortal remains, official documents have to be obtained, including approval from the family, hospital, Ministry of Public Health, police, embassy and customs. We manage to complete the process within one or two days since our volunteers are aware of the steps and well accepted by the authorities concerned, Mehaboob said.
While it comes to burial in Qatar, the wing members get the documents from the hospital and police and take the mortal remains to the graveyard after the last rites. 'Our volunteers accompany the relatives and last rites are performed with help from relatives and the respective communities, said Khalid.
Mahboob said assistance has been so far given for repatriation or local burial of 3,000 bodies. Most of the beneficiaries are Indians with 50% of them Keralites.
'Service is also given to expatriates from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and a few European countries, Mehaboob added while reminiscing a case of a Bangladeshi worker whose body was kept in the mortuary after relatives could not clear financial dues.
'We helped them meet the financial requirement and send the body home within days after we were approached, he recalled.
The functions are run by committee vice president Abdul Salam Cheekkonn and functionaries Mansour Ali, Abbas, Abdul Muees, Nizar, Ismail Madakkara, Yusuf and Imthiyas Puratheel.
The committee has a Whatsapp group where functions are co-ordinated. 'We get notified after a death is reported. All of us are employed. Available volunteers are assigned and we thank God we can manage things while we do our duties, Mehaboob said.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought tough days for the group with death cases reported. 'We found even kith and kin remaining hesitant to take care of the bodies. But, driven by dedication and passion, our volunteers stepped in, he said.
The humanitarian activists have received recognition from government entities, embassies and community organisations.
'We are being praised by all and we are getting accolades, said KMCC Kerala state committee secretary Rayees Ali.
Mehaboob, recently, won the Best Humanitarian award by the Indian Community Benevolent Forum in recognition of the services rendered by his group.    

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