Indian shepherd buried nearly two years after death in desert

Indian shepherd buried nearly two years after death in desert

April 11, 2017

By Irfan Mohammed
Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — An Indian shepherd, who was found dead in a desert in the central region of Saudi Arabia apparently as result of thirst and heat exhaustion, was buried in Buraidah recently, about 2 years after his death.

In a heart-rending incident, Mannela Ramulu's decomposed body was spotted in the desert on Feb. 1, 2016, nearly 8 months after he died. Since then the body had been kept at the morgue of a local hospital awaiting repatriation to his native India. Due to several reasons, including administrative hassles and the poor financial status of the family, the repatriation did not take place and Ramulu was finally buried in the Kingdom.

Ramulu, a native of Medak district of Telangana state in southern India, came to work in Qassim with the dream of providing a decent life to his wife and two children. He also had some debt to repay and wanted to build a house for the family.

According to family sources, for some unknown reasons Ramulu ended up working as a shepherd in a desert area.

Ramulu's decomposed body was spotted by an African shepherd who reached the remote location in the desert, searching his missing animals.

The African informed the police about the body on Feb. 1, 2016. Forensic tests showed the man had died at least 8 months ago, around June 2015.

The temperatures can rise above 50 Celsius in the desert expanses of Qassim and the deaths of shepherds and travelers due to dehydration after getting lost in the desert are not very rare.

There was no identification left on the corpse. No iqama, passport or mobile phone was found near the skeleton, yet the investigating authorities were able to trace the particulars and ascertained that the body belonged to Ramulu.

Ramulu's employer informed the authorities who contacted him that the Indian had absconded immediately after joining work with him. He said he was no longer accountable for the employee as he had already notified the passport authorities of his disappearance.

The Indian Embassy in Riyadh was notified about Ramulu's death and the embassy passed the information to the family in India through official channels.

Noushad, a social worker in Qassim, had been following up the matter with the local authorities in Buraidah as well as with the Indian Embassy in Riyadh.

Kavita, wife of Ramulu, had sent all required documents to the Indian Embassy in March 2016 and again in December. Yet the repatriation delayed for various reasons and finally the family gave up the hope of receiving the body.

After learning that the body had decomposed to less than a complete skeleton, Kavita gave consent to bury her husband in the Kingdom.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette over the phone, Kavita described her ordeal.
“Being a daily wage laborer, she did not have the money and courage to place frequent international calls to Saudi Arabia to follow up her husband's case. Yet we attempted several times but without any hope,” she said.

April 11, 2017