Presumed dead, Indian Haj pilgrim found alive

Barkatullah from Chennai had come with his wife Badarunnisa to Mecca for Haj, but were separated on the first day of the pilgrimage. She presumed that her husband may have died after four days of futile search. Others of her group reached the same conclusion, and the family had arranged for conducting ceremonial final rites in Chennai, cancelling Eid celebrations.

"I was in a state of shock," she was quoted as telling Arab News. "I was praying for my husband's soul to rest in peace and I called the family back home in India to inform them to do the same," she said. But late yesterday, India Fraternity Forum (IFF) volunteer Ashraf found an elderly man at the ICU of King Abdullah Medical City.

Hospital authorities managed to track down Badarunnisa and inform their son in India about his father's condition. "The wife in Mina and the son in India both took some time to realise that their beloved one is alive," Arab News quoted Ashraf as saying. "But we found him alive with medical care. It was amazing to know that Saudi authorities are providing such degree of care to foreign pilgrims," she said.

Barkatullah was taken to Arafah in ambulance by the Saudi paramedics, who had helped him perform Haj, the report said.  

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