MEA denies 150 Indians bodies rotting in Saudi Arabia’s morgues

Terming report “factually misleading”, MEA cites “procedural delay” in bringing back bodies.
MEA denies 150 Indians bodies rotting in Saudi Arabia’s morgues
MEA denies 150 Indians bodies rotting in Saudi Arabia’s morgues
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The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday denied a report stating that 150 bodies of people belonging to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were piling up in the mortuaries of Saudi Arabia, with their families being unable to perform their last rites.

Terming the numbers an exaggeration, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “This report is completely factually misleading.  The report refers to 150 bodies from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.  In reality, there are only about ten cases that pertain to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.”

While the original Times of India report had suggested that the pile-up of bodies was owing to MEA’s “helplessness” as Saudi employers refused to reply to emails or calls, Swarup attributed the issue to procedural delays.

TOI reported that four letters are required to be submitted to the Indian embassy in Riyadh to bring back the bodies to India, including 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.

Swarup, however, pointed out that there are more than 2 million Indians living and working in Saudi Arabia with an average of 3-4 natural deaths registered every day. In these cases, he said, it takes around three weeks to send back the remains. However, the MEA spokesperson argued that in cases of unnatural deaths, such as suicide, murder and industrial accident, the investigation procedure is lengthy causing delay in transporting the mortal remains.

He also said, “In some cases, the families demand release of compensation first, before the dispatch of the mortal remains, whereas compensation is a legal process and takes year. In other cases of delay, DNA samples from the families back home are needed to identify the body and complete the local procedures.”

Swarup added that the Embassy actively follows all death cases on top priority.

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