Sunday, September 02, 2007

Arriving with one name, departing with another

Permission to reproduce this article has to be obtained from The New Indian Express

By Shevlin Sebastian

It seemed a routine matter when Indian Airlines officials informed K.E. Joy, superintendent of police, emigration, at Nedumbassery Airport that a dead body would be arriving on Flight IC 596 from Sharjah on August 29.

According to the passport, the name of the diseased was Naseema Abdulla. When the body landed, Circle Inspector E.G. Vijaykumar asked aloud whether the spouse, Abdulla Ibrahim, was around. Instead, he was met with silence. Then, a 22-year-old, who identified himself as Ratheesh, stepped forward and said he was the son.

"That was strange," said Joy. "Why did the boy have a name like Ratheesh, when
his mother was a Muslim?"

But what really aroused the suspicions of the police was the behaviour of the man who accompanied the body. "Abdul Rahim was not answering questions properly and kept mumbling something," said Vijaykumar. Then an attender showed a lot of interest in trying to take the body out of the arrival area. So, Vijaykumar questioned Ratheesh intensely and the truth came out: his mother's name was actually Hymavathy and she was a Hindu, not a Muslim. The family lived in Vellikulangara in Thrissur. Hymavathy had been married to a man called Sukumaran. "Apparently, after the husband died, she married again, and Ratheesh was the son from the second marriage," said Vijaykumar.

Then the second husband died and Hymavathy had gone to Sharjah to work as a housemaid. The lower middle class family had financial problems. Said Joy: "She must have taken a passport in a Muslim name in order to better her chances for employment." Added Vijaykumar, "Most probably, she was living with this Abdul Rahim."

As for the attender's haste in helping the family, the answer was simple: Hymavathy was his uncle's wife, from the second marriage.

In the end, the body was released to the family. But Abdul Rahim ran out of luck. "We have impounded his passport," said Vijaykumar. "Since it has a Karnataka address, we have sent it there to get it verified."

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