He flew to India to see his parents sick with Covid. Now, this Arizona man is unable to get back to his pregnant wife

“I am whatever I am today just because of them,” said Jha. “I’m glad I could come here (India) to see my father take his last breath, but it’s a very emotional situation,” he said.

Jha’s 59-year-old father was hospitalized on April 24, and Jha arrived in Udaipur, Rajasthan two days later. His 58-year-old mother was treated at home and recovered, but unfortunately his father lost his fight to Covid-19 on May 4.

India is currently experience a second wave of the coronavirus, and the total death toll has surpassed 350,000. India has 33.3 million Covid-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University, the second highest number after the US and ahead of Brazil, which has the third highest number with 16.9 million cases.

Jha’s wife, Shilpa, and her son did not travel with him to avoid pregnancy complications.

“Here I’m 8 months pregnant and in a high-risk pregnancy with gestational diabetes and due next month,” Shilpa told CNN. “I also have to look after a 4-year-old boy. In this phase I now need my husband. I have been doing everything without him for more than a month, but now it is impossible for me to cope on my own.”

Torn between two countries two

After performing the final rites for his father, Jha said that reality had sunk – how he would manage to return to Gilbert, Arizona.

Before Jha can return home, he has to have his passport checked and stamped at a US consulate in India. He holds an H-1B work visa and works as a senior project manager for PayPal.

Because of the tightening of Covid-19 restrictions that forced the closure of US embassies and consulates in India, Jha was given an appointment in September – almost three months later. He tried to file an emergency application but the U.S. embassy in India refused to do so for no clear reason despite showing Shilpa’s medical records and working papers, he said.

In an email to Jha, the US Embassy and Consulate in Delhi said: “Your application for permission to make an emergency appointment has been examined. We regret to inform you that your application has been rejected. ”

“I knew I had to renew my visa, but when I flew from there (the US) everything was the same with the embassies and everything worked,” he said. “I thought it might take a couple of weeks, as it normally does, but I didn’t expect them to decide to close and suspend operations.”

And Jha isn’t the only one stuck or stuck in India due to tightening travel restrictions.

Ashu Mahajan from New JerseyHe was told he would not get a visa appointment until February 2022 after traveling to India to be by his dying father’s side. However, with the help of Sen. Bob Menendez from New Jersey, Mahajan was reunited with his family at the end of May.

Shilpa said that due to complications in her pregnancy, there is a risk of premature birth in the next 2-3 weeks, but she cannot imagine going into labor without her husband by her side.

PayPal says they support Jha throughout the process.

“My employer helped me go on vacation and send out all the necessary visa documents from there so that I have all these documents in hand,” he said.

Why I'm grateful I lost my parents to India's terrible Covid-19 surge

Desperate for a solution, the Jhas turned to both Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Sen. Mark Kelly.

A Sinema spokesperson said, “Our office is communicating with the embassy on behalf of the Jha family and is working to find a quick solution.”

Sen. Kelly’s team also told CNN that they are in touch with the family.

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