His wife doesn’t hesitate to call it” murder”
Srinivas was a crane operator in Qatar and worked for a local construction company. - I was told that he died due to “natural causes” but I do not believe that. How can a completely healthy man just die on the spot? I think he was killed, says Sriniva's wife Anitha Narukulla. Srinivas was an esteemed worker. In 2019, he received a smartphone from his boss. - My husband told me that several of the colleagues became jealous. They started fighting, Anitha remembers. Two months later, he was dead. When the body came in a package, there was a smaller package next to it. In it lay the phone.
Told to the journalistic platform Blankspot
Srinivas Narukulla’s son was 6 and had just learned how to send voice messages on WhatsApp. Every time he missed his father he sent one, asking when he would come home. Until one day when Srinivas could no longer receive them.
“I was told that he died of natural causes, but I don’t believe that,” says Anitha, Sriniva’s wife. “I was told that he had died of natural causes but I don’t believe that. How can a completely healthy man just die? I think he was beaten to death.”
Anitha shares her suspicions from home in Thippaipali, a village in Telangana. Srinivas was a crane operator and worked for a local construction company in Doha, the capital of Qatar. He earned about $650 per month, but that sum was “unfairly divided” between him and the person who had tipped him about the job. A portion also went to the middleman who hired him. A young man and a first-timer in Qatar, Srinivas accepted that’s how things worked.
After a few years he came home to India and married Anitha. That was in 2009. In 2016, he went for another stint to Qatar until his son was born. When he returned this time, it was in a body bag. It took one month for the family to receive his corpse.
“He made good money and he lived in company housing, so there wasn’t all that much to complain about,” Anitha says. “Some times he sent me videos of the skyscrapers from the crane cockpit, and other times when he rode the elevator up and down to it. I was of course worried, but knew was in a good situation.”
He got a smart phone from his boss in 2019, Anitha recalls.
“My husband said he got the phone because he was an exemplary employee, but the next time we spoke he said several coworkers had gotten jealous and they started fighting. I think that fight is key to why he died.”Two months later he was dead. Next to the body, Anitha discovered a small package. It was the phone, which is what she is using for the interview. She rolls tobacco during the whole zoom call.
A few hours before Srinivas died, they spoke. He had a day off and was going to the fair. That was January 4, 2020.
“I called him later that same night but nobody answered, and the same thing happened the following day. When I called his boss, he didn’t answer either. I didn’t find out what happened until two days later.”
Anitha doesn’t hesitate to call it” murder.”
“A relative in Qatar found out from some coworkers that the night of January 4, someone went into his room and assaulted him. There were witnesses who saw a man flee from the room and called the police. He was taken to the hospital but nobody knows what happens after that.”
A year and a half later, Anitha is scraping by on about $40, money she earns by rolling tobacco. She gets another $26, a government subsidy since the job with tobacco leaves is considered hazardous.
“When my husband died, I brought some gold and jewels to a bank and took out a loan. But the interest is high and it’s hard to pay back with the little income I have now.”