TVM man's death in Muscat: Kerala govt slams Air India Express, writes to Centre seeking compensation

Nambi Rajesh and Amritha. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Days after Air India Express came under fire over the death of Thiruvananthapuram native Nambi Rajesh in Muscat, the Kerala government on Friday sought the Centre's intervention to secure compensation for the family of the deceased. Rajesh died in an Oman hospital without his wife by his side, as her flight was repeatedly cancelled amid a strike by the Air India Express crew. 

In a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kerala General Education Minister V Sivankutty invited his attention to the "unfortunate incident" that took place in the life of Amrita, wife of Nambi Rajesh who was in critical condition in Oman hospital when she was trying to travel to be with him. 

He said Amrita, hailing from Karamana here, had booked a seat to Oman on an Air India Express flight on May 8, 2024, to see and bring back her husband. She reached the airport to commence her travel, but the flight was cancelled due to the flash strike of the Air India Express crew, he said. "She requested the authorities for an alternate arrangement but all her efforts were futile. Unfortunately, her husband breathed his last on May 13 and Amrita couldn't see him for the last time," he said in the letter. 

The Kerala minister said Rajesh left behind two kids who are in KG classes. "The callous and irresponsible actions of Air India Express have not only deprived Amrita of the chance to bid farewell to her husband but have also caused immeasurable anguish and suffering to her and her family. In this time of profound grief, they deserve compassion, empathy and humanitarian consideration. "Hence, I request your esteemed intervention to (provide) all possible aid by way of monetary compensation to redress the loss suffered by Amrita and her family," Sivankutty wrote in the letter. 

The state government wrote the letter to the Centre a day after the family of Rajesh protested with his body outside the AISATS office here, seeking compensation from Air India Express. They said that if the airline had not cancelled flights, his wife would have been by his side. The family members of the deceased said his wife was unable to go and see him due to the AI Express cabin crew strike, which led to repeated flight cancellations -- and he died in that Gulf nation with no one to take care of him. 

The body of the man was brought to his residence at Karamana on Thursday morning, and his relatives went with it directly to the office of Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Limited (AISATS) -- which provides gateway services that include ground handling, passenger assistance and air cargo handling. After AI Express officials arrived there and held a discussion with the family members, including the woman's father, in the presence of the police, the protest was called off and the body was taken home to perform the last rites.

(With PTI inputs)

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