India's 59th Republic Day turned into a day of mourning for relatives of 29-year-old Abhijit Mahto, the Indian doctoral student who was killed in the US, as his body arrived in Ranchi on Saturday afternoon.
Abhijit's relatives along with a Jharkhand government official received the body at the Birsa Munda airport in the afternoon, eight days after Abhijit's body had been found in his apartment near Duke University at Durham, North Carolina.
In a special ambulance, arranged by the Jharkhand government, the body was taken to Abhijit's native village Gamaharia, situated between Seraikela and Kharsawa.
Talking to IANS, former Congress MLA and the slain student's grandfather Dhananjay Mahato said: "Students studying aboard should be provided security and the Indian government should take up the issue seriously."
"Abhijit was a bright student. The death of young students is a great loss to the country. The central and state governments should honour Abhijit for his outstanding performance," he added.
Asked about the inquiry being carried out in the US, he said: "What can we say about the investigation of the US police? The body reached here only after the Indian authorities took up the issue with the US."
Prabhu Narayan Mahto, the government official who was with the relatives when they received the body, said: "Deputy Chief Minister Sudhir Mahto will be present at the funeral of Abhijit. Jharkhand has met the expenses of bringing the body home." He later accompanied the family members to Gamaharia.
Abhijit's father Sitram Mahto was an employee of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL).
Abhijit did his Bachelor's degree in engineering from Jadavpur University in Kolkata and M Tech from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur. He had worked at the GE Global Research Centre in Bangalore for two years before joining Duke about two years ago.