US-Canada border deaths: Four of the deceased from Gujarat


Mehsana: A family in Mehsana district in Gujarat believes the Indians who were among the eight who died while trying to cross into the United States of America from Canada recently are their kin.

Jasubhai Chaudhary, a resident of Manekpur village in Vijapur taluka here, on Sunday said his brother, sister-in-law and their two children had left for Canada two months ago on a visitors’ visa, adding reports of eight persons, including some Indians, being found in a marsh there had vexed kin here.

Canadian police have said the deceased, who were found on the banks of St Lawrence River near Akwesasne, a community that straddles Quebec, Ontario, and New York State, is believed to be two families of Indian and Romanian descent and were crossing into USA.

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“Two months ago, my brother, his wife, and two children went to Canada on a visitors’ visa. Yesterday morning I learned about the death of members of a family from India in Canada. I tried to contact my brother but was not able to do so. This caused suspicion that they were our family members,” Chaudhary told reporters.

A Mehsana district administration official said Malekpura village residents approached the collector with a request to make arrangements for the bodies of the four deceased to be brought back to their native village.

“It is confirmed that four members of a family from Manekpur village in Vijapur taluka of Mehsana went to Canada on a visitor’s visa and tried to cross the river. The villagers approached us seeking help to bring back their bodies, which we have reported to the state government,” the official said.

Chaudhary said the family’s suspicion was confirmed after they found that the names of the victims circulating on Whatsapp groups of his relatives settled in Canada were that of his brother, wife and two children.

He identified the four who left for Canada Praveeni Chaudhary (50), his wife Diksha (45), son Meet (20), and daughter Vidhi (24).

Former state home minister Vipul Chaudhary told reporters the government should make arrangements for the bodies of the victims to be brought back here, and termed it a very sad and shocking incident.

If something untoward of this sort happens, then the government must ensure the bodies are brought back, the former minister added. On January 19 last year, four members of a family from Dingucha village in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar froze to death while trying to illegally cross into USA from Canada.

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( With inputs from )

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