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Indian student's body to be handed to kin in two days

The Indian mission in US will coordinate the transfer of Minal Panchal's body.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2007 16:30 IST

The body of Indian student Minal Panchal, who was confirmed dead on Wednesday after a US university massacre of 32 people, will be handed over to her family "in two to three days", Indian diplomats said.

The diplomats in the US and the Indian student community of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg say they will receive and guide the families of both Minal, 26, and GV Loganathan, 52, a professor who was also among the 32 slain by South Korean Cho Seung-Hui before he turned the gun on himself on Monday.

India's external affairs ministry Wednesday said Minal's body would be handed over to her family "in two to three days".

The Indian mission in Washington has offered to coordinate the transfer of Minal's body, ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said in New Delhi.

The family, however, is yet to decide whether Minal's body will be transferred to India.

"Her mother, who is a Mumbai-based widow, and her brother-in-law, who is based in New Jersey, are yet to take a decision on whether they will transport the body back to India," Sarna said.

Ten members of Loganathan's family are flying down from India for his last rites that will take place in the next two days.

Four relatives of Lognanthan, a US citizen with OCI (overseas citizenship of India) status, are being provided passports in Chennai and will be issued visas from the US consulate in Chennai, Sarna said.

"Ticketing arrangements are being done by the passport office and the tickets are being paid for by the government of Tamil Nadu. The embassy of India, Washington, will make arrangements to receive the family in the US," he added.

Loganathan, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, is survived by his homemaker wife Usha and two daughters - Uma is graduating in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia and Abhirami is a seventh grade student.

Surajit Kumar De Datta, director of international research, education and development and associate provost for international affairs, who was arranging visas for them, told the agency that the professor's parents, in-laws, three brothers and three sisters-in-law are expected in the US.

Minal, who was pursuing masters in building science, was in the Norris Hall when the shooting took place. Minal's family, which is from Mumbai's western suburbs of Borivili, was in the US at the time.

Neighbours at her fifth-floor apartment in Borivili West's Park View residence said Minal's mother left for the US two weeks ago while her elder sister Kavita is married and lives in New Jersey.

"Minal's father Hiralal, an architect, passed away a couple of years back after a cardiac arrest," said a neighbour in Mumbai.

Minal passed out from Mumbai's Our Lady of Remedy High School at Poinsur in Kandivili in 1996. After gaining a science degree from Mithibhai College, she studied at the Rizvi College of Architecture in Bandra.

An ardent fan of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, Minal chose to follow in her father's footsteps and become an architect. To her friends and former classmates, she was an intelligent and friendly girl.