Nithin Chandran and Athira Geetha Sreedharan had moved the Supreme Court in April to allow her to fly back to her native in Kerala's Kozhikode.

Nithin Chandran and Athira Geetha Sreedharan in Dubai.
news Death Monday, June 08, 2020 - 17:33

It was just a month ago that 28-year-old Nithin Chandran sent off his pregnant wife, Athira Geetha Sreedharan, on the repatriation flight from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Kerala. On Monday morning, Nithin passed away and Athira is yet to be informed. 

According to reports, Nithin suffered a cardiac arrest and died in his sleep at his accommodation in Dubai, UAE. He had just turned 28 on June 2 and was expecting his first child with Athira in the first week of July.

Kerala remembers 27-year-old Athira as the NRI (non-resident Indian) woman who moved the Supreme Court, to allow her to fly back to her native in Kozhikode, Kerala for her delivery.  She had petitioned that she was due in July and that she could travel from Dubai, only until the first week of May. (Flights restrict women in their last few months of pregnancy from travelling). She had submitted that Nithin, who worked as a mechanical engineer at a construction company in Dubai, could not take leave and hence, nobody was there to help her.

“I just want her to be repatriated safely to Kerala. I don’t have to accompany her,” Nithin had told The Gulf News in April.

Athira, who worked as an electronics and communication engineer at an IT equipment company in Dubai, somehow managed to get short-listed to fly to Kerala reportedly with the intervention of the Consul General of India in Dubai, Vipul.

When she finally flew out on the first repatriation flight of the Indian government’s Vande Bharat Mission on May 7, Nithin’s friend moved into the couple’s apartment to keep him company, said the Gulf News.

According to the report, Nithin was undergoing treatment for high blood pressure and had a heart condition. He is suspected to have died of a cardiac arrest in his sleep, his friends told the newspaper.

On June 7, a day before his death, Nithin had written about how NRIs in the Gulf were disappointed that no new Vande Bharat flights had been scheduled for the region.

വന്ദേ ഭാരത് മിഷൻ നാലാം ഘട്ടത്തിൽ UAE- യെ പൂർണ്ണമായും തഴഞ്ഞു.ഗൾഫ് രാജ്യങ്ങളിൽ വെച്ച് ഏറ്റവും കൂടുതൽ പ്രവാസികളായ...

Posted by Nithin Ze O Positive on Saturday, June 6, 2020

Per his Facebook profile and friends, Nithin was active in blood donation campaigns in UAE. He was the coordinator for the UAE chapter of Blood Donors Kerala and youth-wing expatriate organisation INCAS.

He had reportedly halted his volunteering work during the lockdown considering Athira’s pregnancy but resumed after she reached Kerala.

Condolences poured in from many Dubai. “I am shocked to hear about the demise of Nithin whose wife is pregnant and was among the first one to be repatriated on Vande Bharat Mission,” Consul General Vipul was quoted as saying to the Gulf News.

“He worked for strangers until his last moment…” said one person on Facebook.

Another person wrote: “Nitin was planning to travel to Kerala soon to meet his first child…. There was hardly anybody in UAE who did not Nithin and Athira. They were known as the Dubai-based engineer-couple who approached the Supreme Court to allow NRI pregnant women to fly to India.”

A person close to Nithin told TNM that he was posthumously tested for coronavirus (rapid antibody testing) and his results came out negative. Details of repatriating his body are still awaited.