Bodies of 45 Indians who died in Kuwait fire reach Kerala

Kochi: In a somber and emotional event, the bodies of 45 Indian workers who perished in a massive fire in Kuwait two days ago were brought back to India.

A special aircraft of the Indian Air Force landed in Kerala’s Kochi this morning, carrying the remains of the victims, who hailed from various states across the country.

The victims include 23 from Kerala, seven from Tamil Nadu, three from Uttar Pradesh, two from Odisha, and one each from Bihar, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Haryana, as reported by the Indian embassy in Kuwait.

The repatriation process, which typically takes at least ten days, was expedited due to direct instructions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Gonda MP Kirti Vardhan Singh, recently appointed as a junior minister in the foreign ministry, traveled to Kuwait to oversee the proceedings. “I would like to thank the authorities as they did everything possible, they took all possible measures and fully cooperated in having all the papers completed. Identification was done in such a short time because normally this could have taken a week or at least ten days. On PM Modi’s instructions, the authorities were very quick about it,” said Singh, who returned to India onboard the special aircraft.

Upon arrival in Kochi, the aircraft was met by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Minister Suresh Gopi, Tamil Nadu Minister Masthan, and former Union Minister V Muraleedharan, who were present to offer their condolences and support to the grieving families.

The fire, which erupted in a six-storied building in Mangaf city on Wednesday, resulted in the deaths of at least 48 people. Among the 176 Indian workers residing in the facility, 45 lost their lives and 33 are currently hospitalized. The remaining workers are reported to be safe.

During his visit to Kuwait, Minister Singh visited five hospitals where the injured Indian workers are being treated. He noted that most of the injured workers are expected to be discharged within a few days. Singh also met with Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah, who assured him of full support and assistance in the early repatriation of the bodies.

The bodies, which were charred beyond recognition, required DNA testing to confirm the victims’ identities. Authorities have identified 48 bodies, among which 45 were Indian nationals and three were Filipino nationals, according to a report quoting Mr. Al-Sabah.

This tragic incident has cast a pall of grief over the affected families and communities. The swift action by Indian and Kuwaiti authorities has brought some solace to the families, enabling them to begin the process of mourning and closure. The Indian government has assured continued support to the victims’ families and to the injured workers as they recover from this devastating incident.