India offers to fly home body of worker from Syria

April 17th, 2008 - 6:16 pm ICT by admin  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, April 17 (IANS) The Indian government has offered to transport the body of an Indian immigrant in Syria, lying in a Damascus morgue for three weeks, to India as his family in Punjab cannot afford the shipping expenses. “We are making arrangements to transport the body of Joginder Pal as soon as possible,” India’s Ambassador to Syria Gautam Mukhyopadhyay told IANS from Damascus.

“Today (Thursday) is Syria’s Independence Day, and tomorrow and the day after is the weekend. We have been given to understand that it will be possible to send the body on Sunday,” he said.

The ambassador said the family of the deceased wanted the body to be cremated in Damascus but it was not possible.

“Joginder Pal’s family in Punjab wanted his body to be cremated in Damascus as they could not afford the cost of shipping the body to India. However, legally it is not possible to cremate the body in Damascus,” he said.

He added that the embassy also considered the option of cremating the body in Beirut, Lebanon, but found complications in the process there.

“Hence, we have initiated the process of transporting the body to India,” the ambassador said.

Pal, a daily wage earner, passed away March 24.

According to reports, cremating the body would cost $1,200 while transporting it to India would cost $2,000.

The Indian government’s offer has come after national carrier Air-India offered to transport the body to India free of cost.

“Our offer to carry the body to India still stands,” Fali Warden, National Aviation of Company of India executive director for Middle East and Africa, told IANS here.

“We have alerted our managers in Kuwait, Bahrain and Doha for trans-shipment facilities,” he said.

Air India does not fly to Damascus.

While appreciating Air India’s offer, Ambassador Mukhyopadhay said the Indian mission was planning to fly the body to India directly.

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