April 16, 2021 8:42:19 am
The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that the grave of an Indian citizen, who died in Saudi Arabia in January and buried there a month later despite being a Hindu and without his family’s consent, has been located and legal proceedings have also been initiated on his family’s behalf by the Indian consulate for return of his mortal remains.
Director of Consular, Passport and Visa Division of MEA, Vishnu Kumar Sharma told the court that parallel diplomatic efforts will continue with Saudi Arabia in the meantime for the return of Sanjeev Kumar’s mortal remains. The matter at present is pending with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior, the court was told.
The legal proceedings in Jizan region of Saudi Arabia were initiated after Kumar’s family gave power of attorney to one of the officials of Indian consulate and the hearing in the case is yet to be fixed, the court was told.
According to the petition filed by Kumar’s wife Anju Sharma, he had been working as a truck driver in Saudi Arabia for the past 23 years and died in January due to cardiac arrest. After his death, his body was kept in Beesh General Hospital, Jizan. Anju, as per the petition, was asked to execute a power of attorney to complete the formalities of repatriation of the body and the same was done on January 28.
However, she was informed on February 18 that her husband has been buried there due to a mistake in the translation of death certificate, which identified his religion as Muslim.
The MEA officials earlier told the court that the translation of the death certificate was done by Kumar’s employer but it is inconsequential as the authorities in Saudi Arabia were aware of his religion since he has been buried in a non-Muslim cemetery.
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