External affairs minister SM Krishna on Monday requested his UAE counterpart, Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to make arrangements for land to bury or cremate Indians who reside in the country. The Centre also plans to make a similar request to other nations in the Gulf region, which accommodate as many as six million passport holders from India.
This move is significant on two counts — firstly, it is not very easy to bring the dead back home and, secondly, many third-generation Indians prefer to make those countries their last resting place.
Bringing the dead back from the Gulf has been a complex issue due to various reasons, ranging from the long-winding legal process to many relatives of the dead not being able to afford the expense of flying the bodies back home.
“Over a thousand bodies were brought back last year from the Gulf countries. It’s our policy that want of money shouldn’t deny anyone the last rites of his or her wish,” a government official said.
Many second and third-generation Indians prefer undergoing their last rites in the countries of their residence, where their parents or grandparents had come in search of a better future. “Among them are Muslims and Christians, who bury their dead, and Hindus, who prefer cremation. We have to look into this aspect and work towards finding a solution,” the official said.
Besides requesting for land, Krishna took up other issues pertaining to difficulties faced by workers in the UAE with Nahyan.