40 days counting, Gujarati family awaits for kin’s body from Pak

A family waits to board a boat as they return to their villages after Cyclone Phailin hit Sunapur village in Ganjam district, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha October 13, 2013. India's strongest storm in 14 years left a trail of destruction along the country's east coast on Sunday, but little loss of life was reported after close to a million people took refuge in shelters. Cyclone Phailin was expected to dissipate within 36 hours, losing momentum as it headed inland after making landfall on Saturday from the Bay of Bengal, bringing winds of more than 200 kph (125 mph) to rip up homes and tear down trees. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi (INDIA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT DISASTER) - RTX149SC

Gujarat: A Gujarati family eagerly awaits to get the body of their head of family Vaaga Chauhan, nearly 40 days after he passed away in a Karachi Hospital.

Indian fisherman Vaaga Chauhan, hailing from Saurashtra region of Gujarat, died following an illness in a Karachi hospital on December 22, an activist group claimed here on Saturday.

However, more than a month after his demise, Chauhan’s body is yet to reach his mourning family members, said Jatin Desai, general secretary, Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy (PIPFPD).

“The 55-year old fisherman was arrested by the Pakistan authorities when his boat strayed into that country’s territorial waters. It is more than five weeks since his death and his body is lying in the Edhi Foundation’s morgue in Karachi,” Desai told News agency.

Lamenting that such long delays are the usual practice whenever an Indian or Pakistani fisherman dies in the prison of the other country, he appealed to both governments to take steps to expedite such cases.

“PIPFPD strongly feels that this practice should be changed immediately and a decision be made that on humanitarian grounds, the body of the deceased must be sent to his/her country in the very next available flight,” Desai urged.

Citing similar instances in the past, he said an Indian fisherman from Junagadh Bhikha L. Shival, 35, died in Karachi on December 19, 2013. But the body was sent on February 15, 2014.

In some other instances, Ramjibhai Vala’s body came 45 days after his death in 2012, Dadubhai Makwana’s body was received after three weeks, Kishore Bhagwan’s body was sent after 55 days in 2014 and Arvind Vala’s body came after 22 days in the same year (2014).

From the Indian side, a Pakistani fisherman Nawaz Ali died in Ahmedabad on September 8, 2012, and his body was sent home after 25 days, Desai said.

(IANS) (picture courtesy: gujaratiforum)