Thursday, March 23, 2017

Body of Indian woman stranded at Istanbul airport since 10 days, as officials can't read marking on coffin

New Delhi: Sushant Shahi is waiting for his mother. He knows she isn't alive, but wants to say a final goodbye. A Danish citizen of Indian origin, Rita Shahi had left the cosy hills of Dehradun in Uttarakhand years ago to settle in the Scandinavian country. However, she wished to be cremated according to Hindu rituals.
"My mother suffered a massive stroke on March 6," said Sushant. "It took around 10 days to complete the formalities and the medical examinations in Denmark itself before we could get her home." While Rita's body was put on a flight, Sushant and his wife boarded a different aircraft to fly to India.
"We were shocked to learn at Delhi airport that her coffin had not arrived," Sushant said. "We were told that the coffin was detained at the Istanbul airport, where it had to be loaded on to the flight bound for Delhi. I was told that Istanbul airport authorities had claimed that they were not able to read Danish and that new documents, translated in English, must be provided before they could release the body to be flown to Delhi."
Rita's husband Surya Bikram Shahi, a noted social activist from the Gorkha community in Dehradun, is still waiting to see her for the last time Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh asked this newspaper on Wednesday to assure the family that he would make sure that the Indian embassy takes care of the issue.
"I want to tell the bereaved family that all help possible will be coming to them from the Indian embassy. No problems should come their way from now on," Singh told Mail Today when apprised of the matter. Rita obtained Danish citizenship after she found employment in the country's medical sector. Sushant was with his mother, studied there and also found employment in the Nordic nation.
23/03/17 Siddhartha Rai/India Today