New Delhi on Friday brushed aside the report that the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia has been inactive in dispatching 150 dead bodies from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana that are lying in mortuaries and said the embassy is pro-actively following the cases on top priority. Terming the figures “misleading and completely false”, MEA official spokesperson Vikas Swarup said there are only 10 cases pertaining to the same.
“It is factually misleading and completely false that report refers to 150 bodies from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh lying in the mortuaries in Saudi Arabia. In reality there are only about 10 cases that pertain to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the total number of bodies is nowhere near the figure just mentioned. Moreover, the report fails to appreciate the context of diaspora community in Saudi Arabia,” Swarup said. He pointed out that there are more than two million Indians who are living and working in the country out of which three to four death cases are registered every day on the account of natural cases.
Swarup said most cases are “clear cases” as per local norms and takes around three weeks to send mortal remains even if the documents are in order. “In cases of unnatural death, suicide, murder and also in those cases where the families doubt the circumstances of death, the investigation procedure is very lengthy causing delay in completion of documentation and transportation of mortal remains. In some cases the families demand release of compensation first before the dispatch of mortal remains whereas compensation is a legal process and it takes years in other cases,” Swarup added.
Reportedly, four letters are required to be submitted to Indian embassy in Riyadh to let the body be flown back to the country. These include medical and police reports, a consent letter from the family and a declaration that no monetary assistance would be demanded either from Saudi government or the employer. Saudi Arabia has a sponsorship system named Khafila system whereby a sponsor is responsible to complete paper work and dispatch mortal remains.
However, Swarup said, the Indian Embassy can only step in whenever there are delays in transportation of mortal remains.