UAE-based expat who repatriated 2,000 bodies voted best Indian social worker in GCC Calicut Restaurant best organisation.


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UAE-based expat who repatriated 2,000 bodies voted best Indian social worker in GCC

Calicut Restaurant, which has been distributing free food to the needy for 40 years, is the best organisation

An UAE-based Indian has been voted the best Indian social worker in the GCC by a leading South Indian television channel.

Ashraf Thamarasshery, who lives in Ajman, will be honoured for his selfless service of helping repatriate about 2,000 bodies of expatriates.

Jury members, headed by film director Siddique, selecting the winners (SUPPLIED)

He along with 10 other social workers will be awarded during the Pravasolsavam, Festival of Expatriates, on March 28 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Popular Malayalam star, Sreenivas, will host the show while young acting sensation, Fahad Fazil will grace the occasion.

Media One TV had sought nominations from public and institutions to select best Indian social workers from across the GCC. The one-year-old channel short-listed 10 expats as part of its celebration of  50 years of Indian expatriate life in the GCC.

Ashraf Thamarasshery said he is happy because unlike many other Indian television channels that often honour stars, celebrities, politicians or businessmen, Media One TV has chosen to award social workers who help expats. “Even the Pravasi Bharath award is given to the rich and affluent NRIs only. This should set a new trend in the Malayalam television industry.”

“I have been helping expatriate families for the last 14 years.  I have helped repatriate about 2,000 bodies to 28 countries. Emirates 24|7 had featured Ashraf in August 2012.

Mohammed Ali Padapprambil from Jeddah; Shihab Kottukadu and Safia Ajith, who do social work for Indian prisoners in Saudi Arabia; PM Jabbir (Muscat) and  KS Mohammed Ali (Salalah) from Oman; KT Salim (Bahrain); Kareem Abdulla (Qatar); and Thomas Mathew Kadavil (Kuwait) are other social workers voted as the best in the GCC.

Best expat organisations

Among the three expatriate organisations voted as the best by Media One viewers is an Indian restaurant in Khorfakkan - Calicut Restaurant -  that is famous for serving free food to the hungry and poor expatriates for over 40 years.

MCA Naser, Middle East Head of Media One TV, said: “Calicut Restaurant is selected because its owner the late Kanji Moulana began giving free kanji (rice porridge) to expatriates who reached the Khorfakkan shore in launches and boats from India in the 1960s. After his death, his son Siddique, has continued the tradition. He distributes free food to at least 25-50 people every day.”

The Kerala Muslim Cultural Center (KMCC) and Sevanam Center, Sharjah, are two others organisations that are voted the best community associations. KMCC is selected as the best organisation for its humanitarian and charity driver, Naser added.

All the winners were selected based on the votes by viewers of Media One after countrywide committees nominated social workers and organisations.

Earlier News in 2012 by Emirates 24/7

Meet Indian who repatriated over 150 bodies

Last week alone he handled about nine cases across the UAE (VM SATHISH)

He is a businessman and social worker. You can find him at any tragic site in the UAE - a friend of the dead. Ashraf Palorukkam, who helps grieving families with documentation, has so far helped repartriate at least 150 bodies to India.

In fact, Ashraf says his life’s mission is to help distressed families with the complex paper works and the various clearances that are required from the police, consulates, embassies in the UAE as well as arranging for air tickets and coffins to repartriate bodies back home.

He chanced upon this service as he had to run helter-skelter when faced with the death of his friend 10 years back.

“Last week alone I handled about nine cases across the UAE.  Five natural deaths took place in Sharjah and they were repatriated the next day,” says Ashraf, who lives in Ajman with his family of five.

The reason he gives for his selfless service is interesting. "It is easy to serve the dead, because they will not complain."  He is not associated with any organisation either. “I am not working with any association or organisation because living people have ego, they fight for power and money. But the dead don’t create any issues and therefore, I enjoy my work. God Almighty will reward me for helping these dead people and their relatives.”

"The body of a Bengali worker was lying unclaimed in Ajman Police morgue for more than six months. After the news was released, I got a call from Calcutta, India, inquiring about the body," he recalls. This particular case is now being handled by the Indian Association Ajman and Indian Consulate Dubai.

However, these days there are not many unclaimed bodies because hospital staff across the emirates are aware of Ashraf’s service. Mortuary staff too calls him for help if they cannot identify the dead or their families.

"Suicide cases have increased of late, says Ashraf. "As I handle a case every third day, I have begun to understand the value of life. Earlier I used to feel depressed. But now I have changed. I am determined to be active and do the best while I’m alive."

Salim Noor, Social worker with Youth India, Ajman, says: "Ashraf’s mobile number is circulated among hospital staff and social organisations. Once Ashraf takes over a case, rest assured the body will be repatriated quickly."

"In fact, Ashraf is always one of the first social workers to reach a death site,” he added. Salim says Ashraf must have handled nearly 200 bodies.

“I have seen all type of bodies. Some charred faces, some deformed with injuries. The worst images were four victims of a fire on a ship in Ajman. They were completly burnt. I was really disturbed then. But once I return to my family, the images disappear from my mind," says Ashraf.

“Normally friends or relatives of suicide victims shy away from reporting. Similarly, educated professionals are sceptical of using my services as they think I have some selfish motive in them, adds Ashraf.

Comments on this Article
Ramachandran, Mumbai Sun, September-10-2017, 12:41
Need help for sending body of my cousin who passed away few days back in Dubai
Thahaseer Ahammed, india,calicut/dubai Wed, March-2-2016, 1:25
One of my bengali friend suffering brain stroke in Rashid hospital at 3 months.Now we need to sent him his native place to continuing treatment..he now in COMMA stage.we need to pay in hospital around Hundred thousand above..please kindly give Ashraf’s number to contact him. Thank you
sathish, dubai Thu, April-24-2014, 1:44
how to contact for such situation to Mr. Ashraf, could any one please share his contact details, which will be helpful to all. Thanks sathish
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