The 19-year-old boy was crossing Al Nahda Road from an undesignated area when he was hit by a car.
Nineteen-year-old Nehal Shahin Shamshudeen loved to volunteer. And last week, he was killed in an accident just hours after distributing Iftar boxes for a Ramadan drive in Dubai.
The Dubai Police said the Indian teenager was crossing Al Nahda Road from an undesignated area when he was hit by a car. He died on the spot, but his family didn’t know until three days later.
The last thing they knew was that he was helping the Dubai Police hand out Iftar meals – just like what he had been doing every year during Ramadan.
“He had been a volunteer for Ramadan drives for many years,” Nehal’s uncle Ramsheed Aruthundiyil, a sales and marketing professional in Dubai, told Khaleej Times.
Wherever help is needed, he would always be there – be it in a cross-city cycling championship or other charity events. After all, “volunteering was his greatest passion”, his family said.
So, when Nehal left their home in Sharjah at 5.30pm on Wednesday last week, his mum and dad knew exactly what he was up to – he would be carrying out another act of kindness.
Little did they know, it would be the last time he would ever volunteer. Ramsheed said that after distributing Iftar, Nehal went to meet some friends in Al Qusais.
“His mother, Celina Shahin, called him at 11.30pm on Wednesday, and he’d informed her that his phone was running on low battery and he would be home soon,” he said.
“The family waited for hours, and when he failed to return home the next morning, they began a manhunt for Nehal. Since his phone was switched off, we could not reach him.”
A missing report was filed by Nehal’s father, Shahin Thakadiyil Shamsudeen, at the Industrial Area Police Station in Sharjah.
The family spent days looking for the boy everywhere, until they got in touch with social worker Naseer Vadanapally, who volunteered to take over the case.
“I asked them for his passport copy and visa information. When I realised that there was no reason for him to run away, we checked with the nearby police stations in Nahda for information,” said Vadanapally, a member of the social organisation UAE PRO Association.
“We went to the Dubai Police headquarters and we didn’t find any information. Then, we went to the Qusais Police Station, there was nothing. And finally, when we went to the Dubai Police morgue, there was one unidentified body, which happened to be Nehal’s,” he said. The boy died on May 22 and his family got to know about his death only on May 25.
A bright, friendly student
Nehal, who had just completed his Grade 12 CBSE board exams with a score of 85 per cent, was supposed to pursue higher studies in India.
“He was a wonderful boy. He wanted to be an accountant and was aiming to complete his chartered accountancy in India,” said Abdul Hameed Nissam, another uncle of Nehal.
“In school, he was an above-average student and took part in sporting events,” he said.
Hailing from Ettumanoor in the Kottayam district, Kerala, Nehal had spent most of his growing-up years in India and moved to Dubai four years ago.
Ramsheed describes him as a “very shy boy” but he had a huge circle of friends.
“He had so many friends at school – nearly 600,” he said.
Everybody loved Nehal, he added, and the family was certain that he had touched many lives with all the volunteering activities he did through the years.
When the accident happened, the Dubai Police said they couldn’t identify the dead body as his ID was nowhere to be found. So, it was moved from the hospital to the General Department of Forensic Medicine.
As soon as Nehal’s father identified his body, the paperwork had been done for the boy’s repatriation. Nehal’s body was flown home to Kerala on Monday night.
“He was accompanied by his parents and one younger 14-year-old sibling,” said Nissam. “We have not been able to trace his mobile phone yet. He usually keeps his Emirates ID in a pocket inside his phone’s leather case,” he added.