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Cherikka Parambil Rajeevan (second from right) with his family during the wedding engagement of his daughter Anusree (third from left) and Sajayan (next to her) on February 7. Rajeevan’s wife Nishi (second from left), their two other children and a grandson are also seen. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Cherikka Parambil Rajeevan, 61, one of the victims of the Dubai-Kozhikode Air India Express flight crash on August 7, was flying home to make arrangements for his daughter on the ill-fated flight.

Around 70 days after the crash that left 21 including the pilot and co-pilot dead, Rajeevan’s daughter Anusree has received an unexpected wedding gift from Dubai.

The gift of Rs100,000 for Anusree, whose wedding is on Monday, October 19, went from Dhananjay Datar, chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading, who had announced an aid of Rs2million for families of all 18 victims whose deaths were declared immediately after the crash.

As promised, Datar transferred Rs100,000 each to the families of all 19 deceased passengers (as three more died later) last week after collecting their contacts through Gulf News, which had reported on October 7 that they were yet to receive the promised aid. Attributing the delay to the non-availability of right contacts of the family members of the victims, Datar said he transferred the promised amount to all the families, who had grouped together on WhatsApp. Datar said he was also looking forward to extending the same support to the families of the pilot and co-pilot.

The family group is named after Karippur, the location of the Calicut International Airport where the flight IX1344 skidded off the runway, nosedived into a valley and broke into two on that rainy night. On receiving the aid from Datar last week, the deceasded families' members held their first full-fledged Zoom meeting and invited Datar to thank him.

The Zoom meeting in progress. Image Credit: Supplied

Speaking to the still-grieving family members attending the meeting, to which Gulf News was also invited, Datar said he felt the need for supporting them since most of the passengers were flying home after being stranded in the UAE due to various reasons including job loss and salary cut. The family members thanked him for his kind gesture.

Timely help

It was then that Nishi, wife of Rajeevan, broke into tears and thanked him saying that the aid was a timely help for the family as they were preparing for the wedding that was postponed after Rajeevan’s death. On knowing about the wedding planned on Monday, Datar sent an additional Rs100,000 to Rajeevan’s family.

Speaking to Gulf News over the phone from Kerala on Sunday, Nishi and Anusree said they did not expect another special aid from him for the wedding. “I have no words to express my thanks,” said Anusree, who still weeps everyday holding the photos of her father and the clothes that he had worn last, according to her mother. “She is our youngest child and she was the most attached to her father. It was his big dream to get her married off,” said Nishi.

She said Rajeevan, who worked for 20 years as a spray painter at a car workshop in Dubai, had taken 10 days’ leave to attend Anusree’s wedding engagement in February. “We had planned to hold the wedding in July and he had booked his ticket too. But, that got postponed due to COVID-19 situation. He had tried to fly twice earlier, but in vain. Finally, he booked ticket for this flight and we then fixed the wedding on September 13 so that he can attend the wedding after quarantine.”

With the aid from Datar, she said the family bought extra gold ornaments for Anusree and did some maintenance work at their house where the wedding will take place on Monday. The wedding will be a simple affair with only 40 people taking part, she said.

Death certificate crisis

Once the celebrations are over, Nishi and her children have to chase another matter. They still have not received the valid death certificate of Rajeevan, which is required to process the legal heirship certificate. As reported by Gulf News on October 7, more than a dozen families have not yet received valid death certificates due to spelling errors and discrepancies with the names written in the passports.

While most of them have managed to sort out the issue with the local authorities later, Nishi said hers is one of the two families who are yet to receive the proper death certificates. “In our case, his name was only written as Rajeevan and there were spelling mistakes in his parents’ names. We hope we don’t have to run around any longer for fixing it.”

During the online family meeting, family members of other crash victims also aired their anguish over the apathetic attitude of the local departments responsible for issuing the death certificate. They said they were pulling through by supporting each other mentally through the group and would stand united in their future moves to seek rightful compensation from the governments and the airline.