New Delhi: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj promised immediate financial help to a Delhi family struggling to fly back the body of Gopal Ram (48) who died in Japan on December 10 allegedly due to cardiac arrest.
Union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted on Sunday, “We will bear all the expenses and do this without delay.”
The move comes a day after HT reported that Ram’s family could not afford to transport his body to India.
The family said the Indian Embassy in Japan was asking them for documents such as a letter authorising somebody to receive his remains in Tokyo, and also an income certificate to prove that they were not able to afford his repatriation.
Ram’s wife, Radha Devi, contacted the Delhi Commission for Women, which escalated the issue to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in an official letter on Friday.
“I also saw on Twitter. It has brought some relief. Madam (Swaraj) has seen it. Now we can hope to see our father one last time,” the oldest son, Jatin, a Chartered Accountancy student, told HT.
“We don’t know anybody in Japan whom we can authorise to receive my father’s body. The income certificate is also taking a long time with every government official I meet asking me to either come later or meet somebody else. Now, hopefully, the process will be done smoothly,” he said.
Ram, a father of three children under the age of 25, worked as a cook in India. Through an agent, he got an offer to work in Tokyo. He hoped it would improve his financial situation and left in September 2015.
After three months, Ram allegedly stopped getting a salary. He wasn’t able to send home any money. “They used to make him do menial jobs like wash dishes at the first place, and did not even pay his salary. He switched jobs and worked as a cook at a hotel or a restaurant. There too, he was not paid regularly. We did not get any money from him in over six months,” said Jatin.
The family struggled to make ends meet. “My house is mortgaged. I had to borrow money from my neighbours to buy rice. The only source of income I have now is the rent I get from leasing a room. Is it possible to survive and feed three children with Rs 3,000 a month? How will we be able to afford the lakhs of rupees needed to transport him home?” said Devi.