On Tuesday, a Himachal Pradesh Congress MLA raised an issue before the Delhi High Court wherein the mortal remains of a Hindu man, an Indian citizen, was wrongly buried in Saudi Arabia as per Muslim rites due to incorrect translation of his religion on the death certificate by the Indian Consulate officials in Jeddah.
The wife, who has been running from pillar to post to get the body, has approached the high court seeking direction to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to take steps to urgently exhume the remains and repatriate them to India in a time-bound manner.
Justice Prathiba M Singh said the woman has been approaching the authorities since January, after the death of her husband, and adequate steps ought to have been taken to bring back the body of the man to India to conduct the last rites.
“Accordingly, the concerned officer from the MEA not below the rank of deputy secretary shall join the proceedings on March 18 to apprise this court about the update on steps taken and status on transportation of mortal remains of the deceased,” the judge said while adding that it was an ‘unfortunate’ case.
An Indian man, Una-resident Sanjeev Kumar had died on January 24 due to cardiac arrest, in Saudi Arabia where he had been working for three years, and his body was kept at a hospital there.
After his family was informed about his death by a co-worker on January 25, they sought help from the Una Deputy Commissioner and Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur, the MLA said.
Subsequently, the family also approached the Indian Embassy and requested the authorities to repatriate the body.
Shockingly, on February 18, the family was shocked when the authorities informed that the body of Kumar has been buried in Saudi Arabia while the family members were waiting for the body in India.
Therefore, the man’s wife Anju Sharma has approached the Delhi High Court seeking direction from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to take steps to urgently exhume the remains and repatriate them to India, in a time-bound manner.
According to the petition, officials in the Indian Consulate explained to the family that the burial was conducted “due to a mistake committed by the official translator of Indian Consulate, Jeddah, who wrongly mentioned his religion as ‘Muslim’ in the death certificate”.
“Unfortunately, even after seven weeks of the death of the husband of petitioner, the authorities have failed to do necessary formalities to repatriate the body of Sanjeev Kumar to India for performing last rites,” the plea said.
It also sought a direction to the Centre to take appropriate departmental actions against concerned officials of the Indian Consulate at Jeddah for their willful negligence and also direct the authorities to do appropriate actions for obtaining a corrected death certificate of the man and supply the document to his wife.