Air India flies three seriously ill Bangladeshi citizens free of cost

02 April, Kolkata

Showing its humane face, national carrier Air India on Sunday flew three young Bangladeshi citizens, suffering from serious muscular dystrophy, for treatment at a Mumbai hospital along with their relatives — free of charge.

The three patients and three persons accompanying them took Sunday evening’s Air India flight from Kolkata to Mumbai and will also return by an Air India flight after treatment — without having to pay any fare.

AI-773 took off from Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport with the six Bangladesh nationals among other passengers — bringing a ray of hope to the patients suffering from a rare medical condition called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, an Air India media release said.

The patients were extended full support by way of wheelchairs and individual attendants. They, along with their relatives, were handed over the boarding cards by senior Air India officials.

The saga of Abdus, Rahinul and Shorab aged 24, 14 and 8, respectively, goes back to their birth when they were diagnosed with this crippling disease.

It grabbed attention when their family pleaded with the Bangladesh government for mercy killing of the three for failing to continue with their treatment due to financial reasons.

Destiny, however, had another script for them as Meditourz — a Mumbai-based organisation specialising in treating such diseases — in collaboration with NeuroGen — a Brain and Spine Institute based at Navi Mumbai — flashed a beacon of hope for the patients.

Alok Sharma, a renowned neurosurgeon who specialises in treatment for neurological disorders, offered free treatment to these patients at his hospital and research centre NeoroGen.

A request was made to Air India, which offered support to fly the patients with their companions free of charge to Mumbai and back.

The Bangladesh government and the Bangladesh Human Rights Group also pitched in to ensure that the patients and their companions got visas and documents to travel to India for the treatment.

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