150 bodies of Indians piling up in Saudi’s morgues, embassy helpless

In Saudi Arabia’s mortuaries, about 150 bodies of Indian citizens, mostly from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, are piling up for about a year and their families are not able to bring them back and perform their last rites.

Ministry of External Affairs has been writing about this to the Indian Embassy in Riyadh and so far there hasn’t been any follow up on the matter. MEA officials express helplessness, citing frigid Saudi employers who refuse to reply to emails or phone calls. Causes of deaths are usually attributed to illness, accidents, murders and suicides.

Most of the workers were from Hyderabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Mahbubnagar, Nizamabad, in Telangana, and a few from Andhra districts. They were employed in the Gulf. Statistics with the Telugu community suggest over 10 lakh people from the two states are employed in Saudi Arabia.

Earlier, a woman from the Old City, Asima, was allegedly tortured to death by her employer. The NRI cell in the Telangana secretariat wrote to the Indian embassy in Riyadh. But it was a volunteers group which helped expedite return of Asima's body, which was sent to Hyderabad on May 20.

"This actually took less time. There are cases where bodies are lying in morgues for eight months as families can't pursue employers or MEA officials," Mohd Taher, a computer programmer told TOI.

Recently, the body of B Chandraiah who died of heart attack was flown from Dammam after the intervention of Telangana Jagruthi volunteers.

“Laws are stringent in Saudi Arabia. In murder or accident cases, local authorities release the body only after the investigation into the case is over. In such cases, it may take 60-90 days," said Nizamabad MP, Kalvakuntla Kavitha, who responded to a tweet from Kranthi Bathini of Siddipet for assistance to bring home the body of his uncle.
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