SRINAGAR: A Kashmiri doctor Dr Qaiser Basheer performed the last rites of a fellow doctor Dr K Vijay, a Hyderabad resident who died of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia, media reports from Jeddah said.
“The last journey of COVID-19 victims is a terribly lonely affair for NRIs abroad following the travel restrictions imposed by several countries. Families are unable to catch even a last glimpse of their dear ones and are forced to grieve thousands of miles away,” Hyderabad news portal Telangana Today reported. “Families of NRIs in India rely mostly on friends and colleagues of their breadwinners during the funeral. The situation in Saudi Arabia where the Indian community is scattered across vast stretches of sand to rugged mountain ranges is heart-wrenching.”
According to a report published in Telangana Today, the last journey of Dr K Vijay Emanuel was one such lonely affair in an alien land amid the pandemic. The 61-year-old, a native of Hyderabad, was working as a doctor in the Ministry of Health’s hospital in Maysaan, a hilly resort station nearby Taif. He travelled home for vacation and returned in April.
He tested positive for Covid-19 immediately on return and was in isolation before he was admitted to a hospital in Maysan. He was later shifted to a speciality hospital in Taif following the deterioration of his condition where he succumbed to the virus after weeks of treatment, said the report.
His wife Mangala, also a doctor in India, and children couldn’t make it to Saudi Arabia to catch the last glimpse of their loved one as travel has been suspended due to COVID-19 raging in India. In the tiny town of Mayasaan, there is a handful of Indian communities, many of them working in the same hospital where the deceased was employed.
The report said that Dr Qaiser Basheer who hails from Srinagar in Kashmir is a close friend of late Vijay. Vijay’s family in India authorized Dr Basheer to act on their behalf to complete all the formalities including the last rites.
Dr Basheer and Indian community worker Mohammed Salih Sahib took the body to 300 km away from their burial place. “It is all about humanity and friendship and not region or religion,” Telangana Today quoted Dr Basheer as saying.
He told that death ends a life, not a relationship. “It is immense pain at the loss of dear one as a brother,” D Basheer was quoted as having said.
“It is difficult to console the family members of a deceased when they are not being able to see the departed one last time,” Telangana Today quoted Dr Basheer as having said.