Repatriated Kerala woman delivers unaware of husband’s death in Dubai

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Athira Geetha Sreedharan, a Keralite woman who had filed a writ petition seeking help to return home following the suspension of flights to India for her delivery due in the first week of July gave birth to her first child on Tuesday, unaware that her husband, who stood by her in her fight to fly home for a safe delivery, had died a day before in Dubai.

Athira’s husband, Nithin Chandran, who turned 28 on June 2, passed away in his sleep in their apartment in Dubai’s International City on Monday morning. He is suspected of have died of a heart attack as he was suffering from high blood pressure and a heart condition, according to his friends.

Worried about Athira’s health getting affected due to the tragic news, her relatives had soon shifted her to a hospital without breaking the devastating news that her husband who had seen her off at the airport would never meet her or her unborn child.

“She was only told that Nithin was not feeling well and her blood pressure had gone high. So, the family shifted her to a hospital soon,” advocate Hashik. T.K, who knew Nithin through the community group Incas Youth Wing, told Gulf News.

The family then decided to opt for a cesarean for Athira so that her child remains unharmed due to the shock and stress.

“I don’t know how to break this news. She gave birth to a baby girl,” an emotional Hashik said.

“I have handled several death cases and known many sad stories. No other case has made me so emotional and devastated.”

He said he was there at the airport to see off Athira when she flew on the first repatriation flight under the Vande Bharat Mission from Dubai to Kozhikode on May 7.

“I told Nithin that their petition helped highlight the plight of pregnant women and the government subsequently gave high priority to them for repatriation. But I never expected their story would have a tragic twist like this.”

It was a moment of mixed emotions for Nithin’s friend Bibin Jacob who is also working for repatriating the former’s mortal remains.

“I don’t know what to say. We are trying hard to fly him home as soon as possible, most probably on a cargo flight tomorrow,” he said.

Bibin confirmed that Nithin’s death was not due to COVID-19. “His test result had come out yesterday (Monday) itself. He tested negative.”

However, other documents citing the cause of death are yet to be released. “We are expecting the documents to be released any time now. Once we have all the papers ready, we will send him home,” said Bibin.

Several community members and political leaders from Kerala have mourned the death of Nithin who was active in social work by conducting blood donation drives and food kit distribution even during the COVID-19 pandemic.