Bodies of Indians killed in Iraq may return home next week

By Aroonim Bhuyan, IANS

Dubai : The bodies of two Indian workers who were killed in Iraq earlier this week can be repatriated to India only next week because of a long holiday period ahead in Kuwait.

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“Formalities are under completion and we are awaiting the necessary documentation and attestation from Kuwaiti authorities. However, because of the long weekend ahead – the weekend tomorrow and day after, followed by the National Day holidays – work on repatriation of the bodies is likely to be taken up only next week,” India’s Ambassador to Kuwait M. Ganapathi told IANS by phone Thursday.

Surendran Chalil and T. Mohammad Sali, along with an unidentified Sri Lankan worker, were killed Monday when insurgents opened fire on their convoy near Basra. Their bodies were brought to Kuwait Thursday.

Both Indians hailed from Kerala. While Chalil, 40, was from Kozhikode, Sali, 38, was from Kasargode.

Both were employees of Prolab Solutions, a company based in Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates and working with the US army in Iraq.

The ambassador said the company has appointed an agent to look after the repatriation of the bodies.

“The company has already appointed an agent to oversee the repatriation of the bodies. We at the embassy are also ready to repatriate the bodies as soon as possible,” Ganapathi said.

Though India has banned its workers from taking up jobs in Iraq, the duo along with the Sri Lankan crossed over to Iraq from Kuwait, according to local media reports.

Their bodies were moved from Iraq to Kuwait and now await repatriation to India.

“The Indian government ban on Indian workers going to Iraq is very much valid,” the ambassador said.