“I am who I am today just because of them,” Jha said. “I’m glad I was able to come here (India) to watch my dad take his last breath, but it’s a very emotional situation,” he said.
Jha’s father, 59, was hospitalized on April 24 and Jha arrived in Udaipur, Rajasthan two days later. Her 58-year-old mother received treatment at home and recovered, but sadly her father lost his battle with Covid-19 on May 4.
Jha’s wife, Shilpa, and their son did not travel with him to avoid any pregnancy complications.
“Here I am 8 months pregnant and on a high risk pregnancy with gestational diabetes and due next month,” Shilpa told CNN. “I also have a 4 year old boy who I have to take care of. At this point I need my husband now. I have been managing everything without him for over a month but now I cannot manage. fend for it alone. ”
Torn between two countries
After performing the last rites for his father, Jha said reality had collapsed – how he would manage to get back to Gilbert, Arizona.
Before he can return home, Jha must have his passport examined and stamped at a US consulate in India. He holds an H-1B work visa and works for PayPal as a senior project manager.
Due to the tightening of Covid-19 restrictions that forced the closure of American embassies and consulates in India, Jha received an appointment in September, almost three months away. He tried to file an emergency request, but the US Embassy in India refused it for no clear reason despite providing Shilpa’s medical records and employment documents, he said. declared.
In an email to Jha, the US Embassy and Consulate in Delhi said, “Your request for permission to make an emergency appointment has been reviewed. We regret to inform you that your request has been denied.
“I knew I had to renew my visa but when I left there (the United States) everything was working as usual with the embassies and everything was operational,” he said. “I thought it might take a few weeks as usual, but I didn’t expect them to decide to shut down and suspend operations.”
And Jha is not the only one stranded or having been stranded in India due to the tightening of travel restrictions.
Shilpa said that due to complications from her pregnancy, she was at risk of giving birth prematurely in the next 2-3 weeks, but she can’t imagine starting labor without her husband by her side.
PayPal says they are supporting Jha throughout the process.
“My employer helped me get time off and send all the necessary visa documents from there, so I have all of those documents on hand,” he said.
Desperate for a solution, the Jhas reached out to both Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Senator Mark Kelly.
A spokesperson for Sinema said, “Our office is communicating with the embassy on behalf of the Jha family and working to find a quick solution.
Senator Kelly’s team also told CNN they are in contact with the family.