Social workers who assist with repatriation said the delay mostly happens due to lack of awareness among employers and sponsors.
The Indian Consulate in Dubai has urged employers, sponsors and families to avoid delays in claiming mortal remains. This came after local authorities asked it to ensure that mortal remains are claimed ‘expeditiously’ and cremation or repatriation completed.
“If mortal remains are not claimed and last rites completed within a short span of time, local laws permit authorities to perform the burial locally,” the mission said.
It said there has been an “undue delay” on the part of employers and sponsors in completing the local formalities or giving information about deaths to the consulate. “In the Covid-19 situation, this creates additional burden on mortuaries and government facilities.”
Lack of awareness
Social workers who assist with repatriation said the delay mostly happens due to lack of awareness among employers and sponsors on the procedures to follow.
“If it’s a Covid-19 death, the government is facilitating burial within a day. It’s only in case of repatriation that there’s a requirement for documents and formalities. A normal death case can be cleared in maximum 48 hours, but people who aren’t aware about the system may take days to get a body cleared,” Dubai-based social worker Naseer Vatanappally said.
He urged employers and sponsors to immediately report and coordinate with the mission for steps to follow and not burden mortuaries and health system, especially in the present situation.
“If employers are clueless, they can use consulate’s 24-hour toll-free number. The consulate will inform them about procedures or redirect them to social workers. With the Covid-19 situation, any dead bodies must be claimed at the earliest.”
‘Timely action missing’
Social worker Vidhyadharan Purushothaman, who handles cases in the northern emirates, said most employers and sponsors shrug off from handling paperwork or expenses involved.
“Mortuaries are filled as bodies aren’t claimed. The consulate is ready to offer assistance, but most employers and sponsors don’t take any responsibility. Some employers don’t act in a timely manner and claim the body. Autopsy and document works need follow-up here and back in India. They will not spend time and effort on it. Also, lack of flight services to north India is an issue.”
How to report deaths to the consulate
The consulate has asked employers and sponsors to report deaths to emergency helpline number 0507347676 and complete death-related formalities for performing last rites locally or in India as per the family’s authorisation. Information related to deaths may be mailed at [email protected]