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Bodies of Indian family in Dubai suicide case finally cremated

SHARJAH // The bodies of Santosh Kumar, his wife and daughter were cremated in a quiet ceremony in Sharjah on Saturday attended by friends and family, nearly a month after they died at their home.

Police had registered a case of suicide on July 15 after they found the bodies of the Indian film producer, his wife Manju Menon and nine-year-old daughter Gauri in their Dubai apartment.

Officers said financial trouble, unpaid bills and bounced cheques had driven Kumar to suicide.

“There were about 30 people at the Sharjah cremation ground and it was a small ceremony. It was good to finally bring an end to everything and see to it that the family were properly cremated,” a relative said.

“The puja (prayer) ceremony was conducted like we do in India with a priest there for the rituals. It was good to give them a cremation as per our religious customs.”

Kumar’s brother, who works in Oman, has been in Dubai for the past three weeks to complete formalities including accepting the bodies from the police and cancelling the family’s passports and visas.

Their ashes will likely be taken to India as part of a ceremony where the last remains are scattered in a river, the relative said.

“We have not decided when the ashes will be taken back to India,” he said. “This one month our brain was clogged up with this sad situation and we are dealing with things one by one.”

Family members waited for more than a month for the bodies to be released by the police as clearances and processing of documentation took time due to the Eid break.

Police broke into the Kumar’s Al Nahda apartment last month after friends and family raised the alarm after the family had not been seen since July 8.

Officers suspect Kumar suffocated his daughter after which he and his wife slit their writs. Police also found a suicide note written by Kumar.

Following the incident, aid workers issued appeals to the Indian community to reach out to community groups and family for help to resolve debt issues and for psychological counselling.

About 100 Indians have committed suicide in the UAE each year since 2011, according to Indian embassy figures, out of about 1,300 deaths recorded within the Indian community each year.

In the first half of this year alone, 37 Indian nationals took their lives in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, out of 544 reported deaths, according to figures from the Indian consulate.

Psychological and personal problems, and debt due to failed business ventures or job losses, have been blamed for suicides. The number of people who took their own lives because of spiralling debt was not available.

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(via The National)