An Indian’s travails to travel home with dead wife and newborn baby


Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — The sudden death of an Indian woman during delivery rattled her expatriate husband who had to pass the difficult time completing the complex procedures for repatriating her body for burial back home as well as documenting their newly delivered baby girl.

Completing the documentation was painfully time-consuming and a difficult challenge for the bereaved Indian.

The sudden shock of death was bad enough, but the trauma that followed in the enrollment of the newborn to obtain a travel document and exit visa made things worse. However, with timely assistance from a community worker with the support of the Saudi Passport and Indian Embassy officials, Mohammed Abdul Shahnawaz was finally able to return home with his dead wife and two young children.

Taking the thump impression from a two-day-old baby’s soft fingers and capturing her photo with open eyes from a neonatal incubator was quite challenging, but it was essential for applying for a travel document. Adding to the hassle was the requirement of Civil Affairs registration for the passport application. The process normally takes two to three weeks.

“I was totally lost as I didn’t know what to do. I even thought of leaving the newborn in hospital and take the body of my wife to India,» Shahnawaz said.

A distraught Shahnawaz approached Nass Vakkom, a leading social worker in the Eastern Province, for assistance. Vakkom drew the attention of officials at Civil Affairs to his plight and successfully registered the birth without online appointment.

Indian Embassy helped by issuing a birth registration certificate, which is mandatory to issue the passport. With the help of nurses in the hospital, the father was able to capture the picture of his baby with open eyes after three days of her birth.

Vakkom helped the grief-stricken expatriate to complete all the legal formalities that helped him return home with his two kids and the body of his beloved wife.