France-based NGO brings back ashes of 8 from Punjab - ECAS Punjab

France-based NGO brings back ashes of 8 from Punjab

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Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 11

It was seven months after his death that the family of Satnam Singh Basra (25) from Alaman village of Gurdaspur was able to receive his mortal remains today. An illegal immigrant to France, Basra had reportedly committed suicide on April 2 when he was detected Covid-positive. Unable to get back his body on their own owing to bad financial state, his brother Harnek Singh and brother-in-law Hardeep Singh had sought the help of France-based philanthropist NRI Iqbal Singh Bhatti, who reached Jalandhar today.


Kulwinder Kaur, wife of Amrik Singh

Wait ended with his death

My husband worked as a painter in France. Since he could not get permanent residency there, he could never return and the wait ended with his death on April 24. He had contracted Covid and remained hospitalised for long.


Like Basra, there were seven other families of Punjab who had come to receive the ashes of their loved ones.

"My brother-in-law had such a traumatic experience going illegally to France that our family cannot recover from the loss. Since he had left from here illegally three years ago, it took him one year to reach France. We learnt that he had saved 1,500 Euros, but we have not been able to get the amount. We also have been told that his body had both his hands tied, so we also expect that it could be a case of murder as we had spoken to Satnam hours before his death and he was sounding normal," Hardeep said.

Even more tragic is the story of 71-year-old Geeta Rani of Nadalo village of Hoshiarpur, whose son Labh Kumar died in an accident on May 29 in Paris. Receiving his ashes today, she said, "It has been 18 years since my son went to France. Since he was an illegal immigrant, he quietly kept on doing menial jobs all this while and could never return back. I could not even get a chance to see his body for one last time. It is his ashes which have finally come to me."

Bhatti, who has managed to send 178 bodies of Indians free of cost through his NGO Aurore Dawn since 2003, said 13 Indians died since the pandemic this year. "I managed to send the bodies of two persons. I got cremated the rest of them and have now got their ashes along. Three families took ashes of their loved ones from me at the airport on my return day before, while eight of them, who were from Punjab, received them today," he added.

from The Tribune

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