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Trying to speed up the repatriation of the remains of a Hindu buried in Saudi Arabia as a Muslim: Center | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Center told the Delhi High Court on Wednesday that it has met with senior Saudi officials here to expedite the exhumation and repatriation of the remains of a Hindu, who was buried in Saudi Arabia according to Muslim rites.
The presentation was made before Judge Prathiba M Singh by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA), who also told the court that Saudi officials have not given a timeline regarding the exhumation and repatriation of the remains of the Indian citizen and the government was trying to accelerate the same.
In light of the MEA filing, the court put the matter at a hearing on April 5.
The court was looking at a case in which the Hindu’s mortal remains were wrongly buried in Saudi Arabia according to Muslim rites due to an incorrect translation of his religion on the death certificate allegedly by officials of the Indian consulate in Jeddah.
The deceased’s wife, who had been running from post to post to obtain the remains, approached the high court seeking instructions for the MEA to take steps to urgently exhume the remains and repatriate them to India within a specified timeframe.
On March 18, the court asked the MEA to coordinate with the deputy chief of missions of the Saudi Arabian embassy here to facilitate the exhumation and repatriation of the remains.
The higher court had also asked the deputy chief of mission to obtain a period within which the process of exhumation and repatriation of the body would be completed.
The Consulate Passport Visa Director, MEA, had previously told the court that there was no clarity on the timeline within which the body could be returned to India and also assured the court that they were following up on the matter.
The officer had also said that according to the existing protocol in Saudi Arabia, the body of an Indian citizen cannot be disposed of without obtaining a NOC from the Indian Consulate. However, in this case, the procedure was not followed, he said.
Sanjeev Kumar died on January 24 in Saudi Arabia, where he was working, due to cardiac arrest and his mortal remains remained in a hospital there.
Petitioner Anju Sharma, represented by lawyer Subhash Chandran KR, has stated in her plea that upon receiving the news of her husband’s death, the family asked the authorities to repatriate the mortal remains.
“Surprisingly, on February 18, the petitioner was informed that her husband’s body had been buried in Saudi Arabia while the relatives of the deceased awaited the mortal remains in India.
“Indian consulate officials explained that it was due to a mistake made by the official translator of the Indian consulate, Jeddah, who wrongly mentioned his religion as ‘Muslim’ on the death certificate. They also shared a letter of apology submitted by the agency of official translation from the Indian Consulate in Jeddah with the petitioner here, “said the petition, filed through attorney Yogamaya M G.
He also said that neither the woman nor any of the family members gave their consent to bury Kumar’s body in Saudi Arabia.
Thereafter, the woman asked officials at the Indian consulate in Jeddah to ask local authorities to exhume her husband’s mortal remains so that they can be transported to India to perform the last rites according to the family’s faith.
“Unfortunately, even seven weeks after the death of the petitioner’s husband, the authorities have not complied with the necessary procedures to repatriate the mortal remains of Sanjeev Kumar to India to perform the last rites,” the statement said.
He also requested instructions from the Center to take the appropriate departmental actions against the officials involved from the Indian Consulate in Jeddah for their willful negligence and also ordered the authorities to obtain a corrected death certificate from the deceased and deliver the document to his wife. .

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