Have started pursuing matter with authorities: Indian embassy on stranded remains of Mumbai-based woman

Published: Feb 18, 2020, 11:52 IST | ANI | Mumbai

The Embassy said that the outbreak of the deadly virus epidemic that has already claimed more than 1700 lives in mainland China has "completely derailed normal life" in the East Asian country

Mumbai-based dentist Puneet Mehra. Picture/Twitter ANI
Mumbai-based dentist Puneet Mehra. Picture/Twitter ANI

The Indian embassy in Beijing on Monday responded to Mumbai-based dentist Puneet Mehra's appeal for the early repatriation of the mortal remains of his mother to India, saying that Embassy has started pursuing the matter with the relevant authorities in this regard and that the delay in the process is due to the severe restrictions imposed on funeral homes and movement in China due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

"As per existing regulations in China, Funeral Homes located in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou only are authorised to carry out embalming and anti-sepsis procedures with mortal remains of a foreigner for air transportation," the embassy said.

"As of now, the Chinese Govt, in view of the new coronavirus epidemic, has placed complete restrictions on the Funeral Homes from accepting a body from any place out of these three cities. It means these Funeral Homes can only deal with the body that pertains to the respective city," it added.

The embassy was responding to an appeal by Mehra for the early repatriation of his 63-year-old mother Rita Rajinder Mehra's mortal remains to India. The dentist, in a letter, addressed to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said that his mother passed away on the flight that had led to an emergency landing of the Air China CA 166 aircraft at Zhengzhou airport, Henan.

"I have returned back to India but my mother's body is still at Henan Province Provincial Hospital morgue. It's been 18 days now and my mother's body is still there. I request you to help me transport my mother's remains to Mumbai, India so that her last rights can be done here respectfully," the letter read.

The Embassy said that the outbreak of the deadly virus epidemic that has already claimed more than 1700 lives in mainland China has "completely derailed normal life" in the East Asian country, particularly in Hubei and adjoining provinces due to "severity of the spread and number of deaths that have taken place so far."

The Chinese Government has taken unprecedented measures and few even draconian steps to control the epidemic, which is not willing to subside so far, the Embassy added.

"As a consequence of the above, there is a delay in transportation of the mortal remains of Late Mrs Rita Rajinder Mehra to India by the Agency that you have hired in this regard," it said.

"Though these obstacles as mentioned above seem non-feasible to overcome under current circumstances wherein full Govt's might is deployed to check the epidemic of new coronavirus, yet the Embassy has started pursuing the matter with the relevant authorities to see if there is any possibility for the transportation of mortal remains from Henan to Beijing and further to India including its acceptance by the Beijing Funeral Home for embalming etc," it added.

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