‘Denied permission to…’: Kerala minister as IAF plane brings back 45 Indians killed in Kuwait | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Denied permission to…’: Kerala minister as IAF plane brings back 45 Indians killed in Kuwait

Jun 14, 2024 02:19 PM IST

2024 Kuwait Mangaf building fire: Veena George claimed she was denied permission by the Centre to travel to Kuwait.

Kerala health minister Veena George on Friday alleged that the central government did not permit her to travel to Kuwait to coordinate in assistance for Indian nationals from the state affected in the tragic fire incident in the Gulf country's southern city of Mangaf.

Arrangements are in place at the Cochin International Airport before the arrival of a special IAF flight carrying the mortal remains of victims of the recent Kuwait fire, on Friday,(PTI)
Arrangements are in place at the Cochin International Airport before the arrival of a special IAF flight carrying the mortal remains of victims of the recent Kuwait fire, on Friday,(PTI)

An uneasy silence hung over the import cargo terminal of the airport in Kochi in the morning as authorities made arrangements to receive the bodies of the 45 Indians who lost their lives in the building fire in Kuwait on Wednesday.

Ambulances were stationed at the terminal to carry the victims' bodies to their homes.

A special Indian Air Force aircraft, C-130J, carrying mortal remains of 45 Indian victims in the fire incident in Kuwait's Mangaf, landed in Kochi on Friday morning. Minister of state for external affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh, who reached Kuwait on Friday morning and coordinated with Kuwaiti authorities to ensure swift repatriation, was also onboard the aircraft, the Indian embassy said.

“It is very unfortunate that we did not get the consent (to travel to Kuwait). More than half of the people who died were from Kerala. The majority of the people who are under treatment are also from Keralam” Veena George told reporters at the Cochin International Airport.

The Kerala government had convened an emergency Cabinet meeting on Thursday and announced that Veena George, along with State Mission Director (NHM) Jeevan Babu, would urgently travel to Kuwait to coordinate efforts related to the treatment of those from the state who sustained injuries as well as oversee the repatriation of the bodies of the deceased. The victims include 24 from Kerala.

"The embassy did not give us the exact data on the number of seriously injured people. The data that we have collected from there is that a total of 7 people have been admitted to the hospital and 4 of them are from Kerala, but this is not officially declared. The purpose of my visit (to Kuwait) was that I wanted to be with the injured and bring their needs to the attention of the Central Government," George told reporters.

Union minister of state Suresh Gopi on Friday said that the external affairs ministry did a “wonderful” job in coordinating the efforts to ensure treatment of the Indians injured in the Kuwait fire tragedy.

The minister of state for tourism and petroleum also said he has cancelled his other programmes for the day and would be going to the international airport to receive the bodies of the Malayalees who died in the Kuwait fire tragedy.

Meanwhile, Kerala revenue minister K Rajan told reporters that the bodies of 23 Malayalees, 7 Tamilians and one person from Karnataka would be received in Kochi, before the flight carrying the mortal remains of the other Indians who died in the fire goes to Delhi.

(With inputs from agencies)

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