Kuwait fire: Bodies of 31 Indians received at Kochi airport, political leaders pay homage

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed hope that the Kuwaiti government would take the initiative to provide sufficient compensation to the victims' families.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 14, 2024 | 1:16 PM Updated Jun 14, 2024 | 1:16 PM

Pinarayi Vijayan presenting a wreath to the deceased. (Supplied)

The mortal remains of 31 Indians killed in the Kuwait fire tragedy were received at the Cochin International Airport on Friday, 14 June, by Union and state ministers, including Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

An Indian Air Force (IAF) flight carrying the mortal remains of the Indians killed in the tragic fire incident two days ago landed at the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) at around 10.30 am on Friday.

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

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

The process of shifting the mortal remains of the Malayalis to their native places is nearing completion at the airport and is being coordinated by the Police, Revenue departments, and NoRKA officials.

Each ambulance will have a police pilot vehicle to ensure hassle-free passage

The officials said that the mortal remains of seven Tamil Nadu natives will be handed over to the concerned and the neighbouring state government has arranged ambulances for shifting them bodies to their respective places.

Related: A dad awaiting child’s first birthday, a man on his first job: fire burns all down

‘Huge disaster for the country’

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 chief minister 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 chief minister said.

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

Related: Three from Andhra Pradesh, seven from Tamil Nadu died in tragedy

Seeks support from Kuwait

“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 Union governments for the hard work they put in while working abroad.

“The tragedy is very painful,” he said.

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

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 KS Masthan, also paid homage to the deceased at the Cochin airport.

A guard of honour was given by the police.

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, CIAL said.

(With inputs from PTI and Dileep V Kumar)

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