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Mumbai victim of Kuwait fire to be buried on Sunday

Jun 16, 2024 08:16 AM IST

At least 49 foreign workers, 45 of them Indians, were killed and 50 others injured in the fire at a seven-storey building in Kuwait’s Mangaf city on June 12

Mumbai: The mortal remains of Denny Baby Karunakaran, one of the 45 Indians killed in Kuwait building fire on June 12, arrived in the city in the early hours of Saturday and will be buried beside his mother on Sunday in the Christian Cemetery, Charkop.

Denny Baby Karunakaran, 33.

At least 49 foreign workers, 45 of them Indians, were killed and 50 others injured in the fire at a seven-storey building in Kuwait’s Mangaf city on June 12.

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33-year-old Denny had left the city to work in Kuwait as a sales coordinator at NBTC two years after he was shaken by his mother’s death in 2016.

On Saturday, his family was back at the site of their residence for almost all of Denny’s life, Malvani in Malad, preparing for his funeral at the Peniel Assemblies of God Church at 3pm on Saturday. Despite having sold their house in Malad for one in Virar, due to the lower property costs, the funeral is to be held there due to the presence of their friends and families in the area. The burial would follow.

Denny’s body had arrived in Mumbai at around 3am on Saturday morning after dropping the bodies of the fire’s other victims in Kerala and Delhi and was kept in the morgue at Shatabdi Hospital. Denny’s father, Baby Karunakaran, had arrived from their village in Kerala where he is settled for the most part. Denny’s brother-in-law, Manoj Peter, also working in Kuwait, was called by NBTC to identify Denny’s body, which turned out to be a mismatch. The family was then only given confirmation about Denny’s demise on June 13 from the official deceased list, a day after the fire. His body was not burnt, the family suspecting he died of smoke inhalation. “This was a tragedy. It’s understandable that they only released all the information after following the country’s rules as per procedure,” said Peter.

The family, explained Thomas Varghese, a longtime family friend who had known Denny and his sister Daisy since they were children, and were from Kerala and migrated to the city for work. “We are a part of the same church, follows the Presbyterian denomination of Christianity,” he said. “Even though their father, Baby, is Hindu, the family was very religious and would attend church every Sunday. Denny was a good boy.”

After his schooling, Denny got his Bachelor of Arts at Wilson College. Wanting to enter the priesthood, he then ventured to a bible college in Kerala, and then returned to Malvani. There he continued his studies.

It is then that his life’s trajectory turned on his head, after his mother’s demise due to natural causes. Denny retreated from everyone. “He was very close to his mother,” said Peter. “When she died, his father would leave for work and he’d be left all alone at home. His faith took a hit too.”

Varghese reiterated the sudden shift in Denny after his mother’s death. Some financial difficulty led him to interview for a clerical position at NBTC in Kuwait where he eventually rose up the ranks to become a sales coordinator. According to Peter, Denny’s interest lied in the stock market; he eventually wanted to start his own business one day back in his home city. He was waiting to establish himself and build a home to consider marriage and children.

“He was shy and liked his alone time. We did not live nearby in Kuwait, but when I once visited him to celebrate his birthday, he refused to allow his picture to be taken. We could only take a picture of the cake,” recounted Peter.

“He was a good man, his character was good,” repeated both Peter and Varghese, still making sense of the loss of the young man with a whole life ahead of him.

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