Bodies of two Indian workers lying in Saudi Arabia mortuary for the past two months

In a heart-rending incident, the bodies of two Indian workers have been lying in a Riyadh mortuary in Saudi Arabia for past two months and no arrangement has been made to bring them back to the country. The employers of the two workers have refused to provide any help.

Jaswinder Singh (left) and  Ponnam Satyanarayana
Jaswinder Singh (left) and Ponnam Satyanarayana. Photo courtesy: Saudi Gazette

The two workers are Jaswinder Singh (56) from Kapurthala in Punjab and Ponnam Satyanarayana (48) from Jagtial district in Telengana. Both worked for a now-defunct construction company in Saudi Arabia for over two decades. Jaswinder Singh died on February 21 while Ponnam Satyanarayana died on March 11.

Since their deaths, the bodies of the two men are lying in a Riyadh mortuary as their employers are not willing to bear the cost of transporting them to their families back in India, the Saudi Gazette reported.

The two were reportedly left unemployed and were waiting for their end of service benefits from their employers. Both of them were planning to return to India for good after that.

After their deaths, the construction company was not ready to bear the embalming and cargo charges. 

Social organisations and people have expressed concern on the issue through Twitter and urged the Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to offer help in the matter.

According to the rules, it is the employer's responsibility to bear the cost of transporting the mortal remains of an employee and also to make the exit papers. The International Air Transport Association or IATA rules make it mandatory for the coffin box to be chemically embalmed.

Colleagues of the two men told Saudi Gazette, “The employees Singh and Satyanarayana , did not get salary for over a year-and-a-half. We have spent long years in the company of each other, in bad and good times. We were … like brothers. Contributing some amount for repatriation is not a matter for us but we have no money.”