Kuwait fire: Amid heart-rending scenes, mortal remains of 31 Indians reach Kochi airport

The customs, immigration and airport health office related process for the 45 bodies were done at CIAL itself, the airport authorities said. After the 31 bodies were received at the airport, the remaining 14 were sent to Delhi in the same aircraft.
Last Updated : 14 June 2024, 05:19 IST

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Kochi: The mortal remains of 31 Indians, including 23 Malayalees, who died in the Kuwait fire tragedy were received at the international airport here on Friday by Central and state ministers, including Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who paid tributes to the deceased.

An Indian Air Force (IAF) flight carrying the mortal remains of 45 Indians who died in the tragic fire incident in Kuwait two days ago, landed at the international airport here at around 10.30 am.

Of the 45 mortal remains carried by the IAF C30J aircraft, 31 were received at the airport here.

The 31 bodies include 23 Keralites, 7 Tamilians and one person from Karnataka, officials said.

Vijayan, speaking to reporters at the airport, said that 'pravasis' (expatriates) were the lifeline of Kerala and the deaths of so many Indian expatriates in the fire was a "huge disaster for the country".

The CM also said that the incident was also a huge disaster for the expatriate community.

"It is an unending loss for the families of the deceased. The Kuwaiti government has taken strong and effective action following the incident and the Indian government intervened in a good way.

"Measures need to be taken to prevent a recurrence of such an incident and it is hoped that the Kuwaiti government will take the requisite action for the same," the CM said.

He also expressed hope that the Kuwaiti government would take the initiative to provide sufficient compensation to the families of the victims.

"For this, the Indian government should get in touch with the government in Kuwait to expedite the process as those who died there had gone there to earn a livelihood. Any amount of help to the bereaved families may not be enough," he said.

Minister of State for Tourism and Petroleum Suresh Gopi, who was at the airport to receive the mortal remains, said that 'pravasis' are held in high regard by the state and Centre for the hard work they put in while working abroad.

"The tragedy is very painful," he said.

The CM paid tribute to the deceased by placing wreaths on their coffins, while Gopi laid red roses to pay his last respects.

Along with CM, his cabinet colleagues and Opposition leader V D Satheesan were also present to receive the mortal remains of the deceased.

Ambulances were kept ready at the airport to take the mortal remains to the homes of the deceased. The airport witnessed heart-rending scenes as the bodies were handed over to the family members and friends, who stationed at the airport. Arrangements were also made for the close family members of the deceased to accompany the bodies.

Two more Malayalis were reportedly killed in the fire. However, their identities have not been confirmed yet.

Union MoS for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh, who accompanied the mortal remains on the IAF flight, and Tamil Nadu Minister for Minorities Welfare and Non-Resident Tamils Welfare Gingee K S Masthan also paid tributes to the deceased at the Cochin airport.

A guard of honour was given by the police to the deceased.

After the 31 bodies were received at the airport, the remaining 14 were sent to Delhi in the same aircraft as a domestic flight, CIAL said.

Meanwhile, the state government and the opposition Congress flayed the Centre for denying permission for the health minister Veena George to travel to Kuwait to extend relief to those injured and coordinate their treatment.

While the CM said it was a wrong approach from the Centre, Opposition leader V D Satheesan called it "very unfortunate". BJP state president K Surendran and Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan, however, said that the Centre was coordinating all the activities by deputing a minister and there was no need for a state to send a minister.

The living conditions of migrants in foreign countries is likely to come up for discussion at Loka Kerala Sabha, a three day conference of representatives of non-resident Keralites being held by the state government from Friday. Representatives of NRIs from 103 countries, including many NRI businessmen, are attending the event.

With PTI input

Published 14 June 2024, 05:19 IST

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