AMRITSAR: A French NGO has come forward to help the Indian families whose relatives have died during the coronavirus pandemic in France but didn’t have enough means to bear the transportation and paperwork cost to bring back the bodies or even the mortal remains of their loved ones from France.
Iqbal Singh , president of French NGO Aurore Dawn told TOI on Sunday that a total of 13 Indians who lived in Bobigny, the northeastern suburbs of Paris, had died during the past 9 months , out of which he said 7 had died of coronavirus while 6 had died of natural death.
“All these people were not only poor but their relatives back in India didn’t have enough funds to bring back their bodies from France so we took the responsibility and flew back the bodies of two dead Indians with the help of Indian embassy” said Iqbal adding the NGO performed last rites of rest of them according to their religious beliefs in France and sent back the remains of one person Satish Bhati, resident of Ghaziabad by post on the insistence of his relatives.
He further informed that the mortal remains of two more persons were handed over to their relatives upon reaching Delhi on Sunday while the mortal remains of rest of the 8 dead Indians including 7 coronavirus deads who hails from Punjab and Haryana would be handed over to their relatives on Tuesday.
Aurore Dawn has so far sent back 178 bodies of dead Indians from France to their relatives in India out of which 79 bodies were sent with the help of Indian embassy in France.
Majority of those who died lived on the streets since they were illegal migrants who were marooned by greedy and unscrupulous travel agents and are forced to sleep in streets, tunnels, underpasses, near sewerage etc to avoid the freezing cold, said he.
“We collect money from Gurdwara‘s and the local Indian community to ensure that the relatives of dead ones at least perform their last rites and see their mortal remains” said Iqbal. He informed it costs 4200 and 2700 Euros respectively for sending a body to India and performing last rites in France.
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