A Himachal Pradesh Congress MLA on Tuesday raised the issue of the mortal remains of a Hindu man hailing from the state being wrongly buried in Saudi Arabia as per Muslim custom, following which Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said in the Assembly that he would take up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs. Thakur extended condolences to the man's family and regretted his burial which is against his religious custom.
The chief minister also said the state government would explore options to bring back his mortal remains. Una MLA Satpal Singh Raizada alleged the family of the man took up the matter at various levels but to no avail, and demanded a probe into it.
According to the Congress legislator, Una-resident Sanjeev Kumar died due to cardiac arrest on January 24 in Saudi Arabia where he had been working for three years. 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 for bringing his body back to India but didn't get any response, he added. However, on February 17, his family got to know that his body has been buried in Saudi Arabia.
The man's wife has also approached the Delhi 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. According to the petition, officials in 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".
The court said the case was "unfortunate" and directed the MEA officer concerned to appear before it on the next date of hearing on March 18 to apprise it about the update on steps taken and status on transportation of mortal remains of the deceased.