Salem native was last heard from at Sharjah airport on Oct. 2

Nearly a month after he was pronounced dead at a government hospital in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, the body of a 22-year-old youth hailing from Salem district was brought to Chennai airport on Thursday morning. R. Anbarasu of Puliyankurichi village, Gangavalli taluk, who had worked for a few months in a ship as a support marine engineer, was on his way back home when he reportedly fell unconscious at Sharjah airport on October 2. Four days later, his parents were informed that he had died.

Earlier this month, Anbarasu’s brother, R. Raviselvam, had approached the Madras High Court seeking an investigation into his death and also sought a direction to the Ministries of External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs to take steps to bring back his brother’s body at the earliest. Justice K.K. Sasidharan, in his order on Tuesday, ruled that the post-mortem should be conducted and videographed.

With the help of an Indian volunteer in the UAE, Anbarasu’s body was brought to the airport early on Thursday morning. His parents, relatives and friends were deeply upset that no governmental representative had come to assist them or carry out the procedures and paper work to ensure that the post-mortem would be recorded.

“We were already shattered at the death of our boy but the difficulty we have been put through since October 6 in running around for help completely wore us down,” said G. Mani, uncle of Anbarasu.

“On October 2, he called us from Sharjah airport, and said that he had the wages for four months in his bag. He sounded very weak and we knew that he was unwell. Four days later, we were informed that he had died,” Mayil, Anbarasu’ mother, said.

Inadequate food

“He was very strong and healthy. We have doubts on the circumstances around his death. He used to complain of the inadequate and poor quality of food and how three trainee engineers had to do the job of six sanctioned engineers in the ship. Work hours were very long — from nearly 8 a.m. till 2 a.m. the next day,” Mr. Mani said. The family appealed to the State to intervene and conduct a thorough enquiry into the incident. None of them were able to recall the name of the shipping company in which Anbarasu was employed or the name of the Mumbai agent who sent him to the Gulf.

Parents’ struggle

Family members recalled that his parents, who were poor farmers, had obtained an education loan of Rs. 7 lakh apart from mortgaging jewels for Rs. 3 lakh to fund Anbarasu’s four-year marine engineering course at a private university in Chennai. He completed the course in 2012.

Further, they borrowed another Rs. 2.5 lakh to pay a private agency. This agency conducted an advanced training course and a got him a certificate, which was mandatory for him to get a job as an engineer in a ship in the Gulf.


Red tape stalls post-mortem of sailorOctober 31, 2013