Meet Ashraf : The Keralite Expat who helped Sridevi’s body come home

Ashraf,the expat in UAE from Thamaraserry,Kerala has helped the legendary actress Sridevi’s body come home.He is 44 years old and has become a ferryman for those who dies in United Arab Emirates.He has helped repatriate 4,700 bodies to 38 countries across the world. In his view he views it as a noble responsibility in the desert sheikhdom that draws so many far from their homes, chief among them his compatriots.

For them, you or me, it’s all the same and everyone is equal. If someone dies in their room, they will take them to the hospital and then to be checked at the police mortuary.It’s the same process, whether Dubai or Sharjah or any emirate… Whether you’re poor or rich, it doesn’t matter.,Ashraf said.

Ashraf  helped to repatriate five other bodies Tuesday including the famed Bollywood star Sridevi.While Indian officials quickly cancelled her passport and prepared the other documents, hey said a needed police clearance slowed Sridevi’s repatriation. He received hundreds of calls from journalists, officials and others in meantime.

When the clearance came, he traveled to a simple government-run mortuary in a dusty neighborhood of squat, square buildings that house some of Dubai’s immense population of foreign workers, many of whom come from South Asia.There, officials embalmed her corpse as he handled paperwork for her and three others.

Ashraf returned home by tuesday night to the apartment he shares with his wife and daughter in Ajman, a small, dusty emirate in the UAE that serves as a bedroom community to skyscraper-studded Dubai some 35 kilometers to the southwest. There, he runs a mechanics shop but focuses largely on his magnanimous efforts.

Shelf upon shelf in his home bears honors and awards. A framed picture hangs on the wall showing him meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

I do this to earn blessings, but also when someone dies here, people don’t know how to manage the repatriation procedures ,that’s why I do it,he said.