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Zahid Ahmed Noor Image Credit:

AL AIN: A Pakistani expat has won hearts for going out of his way to repatriate the mortal remains of an Indian construction worker whom he didn’t even knew.

Chandrika 34, from Azamgarh in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, died following a heart attack in Abu Dhabi on January 16. But his body remained in a hospital in the UAE capital for nearly 10 days until Ahmad intervened.

The Good Samaritan not only followed repatriation efforts with the Indian Embassy, he also bore all related costs.

Ahmed forked out Dh4,200 from his own pocket towards various expenses besides giving Dh2,000 to the deceased’s widow.

Self-effacing

However, the 52-year-old, who runs a carpentry business in Al Ain, remains self-effacing. “I did nothing out of the ordinary. “As a Muslim, I am obliged to serve humanity, regardless or race, colour, religion or nationality. I just did my job,” he said over the phone from his hometown Peshawar, Pakistan where he arrived on Thursday to attend to his ailing father.

Ahmed was supposed to make the trip last fortnight but a chance visit to a construction company’s office in Abu Dhabi changed his mind.

Bread winner

“I had gone there to meet a client when I heard that one of their staff had died and his body has lying in a hospital waiting to be repatriated,” Ahmed recalled.

“I felt a lump in my throat as I thought about the worker’s family. If losing a bread winner unexpectedly in another country was not heart-breaking enough, the man’s loved ones were also facing an agonising wait to carry out his funeral rites. At that moment I decided to take things in my hand,” said Ahmad.

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Construction worker Chandrika

Tireless efforts

Over the next few days, he visited the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi several times to submit a raft of documents required for the repatriation process. These included papers from the police, hospital, embalming centre, cargo and airline.

Ahmad also coordinated with the deceased’s widow Shila Devi whose thumb impression was needed on a clearance letter.

Wife thanks expat

“I am sure his company would have done all of this but the process was taking long so I volunteered to step in and expedite things and they readily agreed,” said Ahmad who paid Dh1,300 towards Chandrika’s hospital bills, Dh2,100 to a cargo firm which arranged a standard coffin, and Dh600 towards the one-way ticket of a person accompanying the body, besides Dh200 towards ambulance charges in India

“On an afterthought I also wired Dh2,000 to the bank account of Sheila Devi,” he said.

Ahmed doesn’t know if the construction company would reimburse him, saying he doesn’t much care about it.

“That’s the least of my concern I did what I had to do and will do it again if need be. What good is money if it doesn’t help someone,” he said.

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Zahid Ahmed Noor

Mohammad Ali, PRO at Golden Patec Contracting and General Maintenance Company where Chandrika was employed validated Zahid’s claim. “Yes, Zahid worked tirelessly to repatriate the body to India. He is a supplier at our company. I have no words to thank him for his selfless efforts,” Ali told Gulf News.

Chandrika’s wife Shila Devi said she’s overwhelmed by the gesture of the Pakistani man.

“Who does this for random strangers? Zahid Bhai (brother Zahid) has reinforced my faith in humanity,” the mother of three told Gulf News over the phone from Azamgarh.

On Thursday, Chandrika’s mortal remains were consigned to flames in his native Bindra Bazar, Azamgarh as per Hindu traditions.