Expats body lying in hospital for two months

RIYADH: The body of an Indian worker has been lying in the morgue of a local hospital for 59 days because his wife refused to give her consent for a local burial, which is a legal requirement in Saudi Arabia.

“The family of the late Sheikh Mazharuddin has refused to accept the body. So far they refused to sign any document that will facilitate a local burial or repatriation of the body home,” Shihab Kottukad, an Indian social worker, told Arab News yesterday.

“Asma Khatoon (Mazharuddin’s wife) refuses to sign the papers saying that her husband did not support his family members when they were desperate,” said Kottukad.

Mazharuddin’s children, who are now grown up and able to bear the expenses of repatriating the body to India, have also not shown any sympathy toward their deceased father.

Mazharuddin, who hailed from a village in Siwan district of the eastern Indian state of Bihar, died on Aug. 27 at Al-Mouwasat Hospital where he was admitted after complaining about chest pain. He was 58.

Mazharuddin came to work in the Kingdom in 1994, and never visited his family in India during his 15-year stay in Riyadh. Khatoon said her husband did not come to the family’s rescue when she desperately needed him.

Kottukad said a police case filed by Mazharuddin against his employer was one of the obstacles that prevented him from visiting his family in India. That case, which was filed in 2002, was resolved only recently.

Mazharuddin was paid thousands of riyals in salary arrears and the Indian Embassy issued him a new passport to help him leave Saudi Arabia without any problem. However, he decided to stay in Riyadh some more time to look for another employer.

The Indian Embassy has been trying to resolve the issue. An embassy official said the mission has sent a notification to the district magistrate of Siwan and a report is awaited.

“If the family does not show any interest, then the embassy on its own will give permission for a local burial,” said the official, who expressed his appreciation for the Al-Mouwasat Hospital, which gave free medical treatment to Mazharuddin.

The hospital had sought the embassy’s help to dispose of the body. Indian community organizations spoke to the late Mazharuddin’s family members seeking their help to facilitate his burial, but their efforts have so far been in vain.

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