Weeks after a four-member family from Dingucha village in Gandhinagar was found frozen to death near the US Canada border in an alleged attempt to illegally cross over to the US, their bodies were cremated as per Hindu rituals in Canada Sunday.
Meanwhile, the remaining family members arranged a ‘besna’ ceremony at Dingucha village in Kalol taluka Monday morning. Over 100 people from their clan attended the ceremony.
On January 19, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) discovered the four bodies frozen, in minus 30 degrees Celsius, near the Emerson town of Manitoba province. According to RCMP, the four bodies were part of a larger 11-member group of undocumented citizens from India who was allegedly trying to illegally cross over to the US from Canada.
On January 28, the Canadian authorities identified the bodies as that of Jagdish Patel (39), wife Vaishali Patel (37), daughter Vihangi Patel (11) and son Dharmik Patel (3). The family had travelled to Canada on a visitor’s VISA.
Jagdish is survived by his father Baldev Patel, mother Madhu Patel and elder brother Mahendra Patel.
Upon identification of the bodies, the Patel family had announced they would not be bringing the bodies back to India due to the high cost involved and agreed to conduct the final rites as per Hindu customs in Canada itself.
On Sunday, a funeral ceremony was organised by the Patel family’s relatives in Canada. Mahendra flew in to attend the two-and-a-half-hour-long service that was also live-streamed on YouTube for friends and relatives.
According to relatives of the Patel family, the funeral cost incurred was supported by a crowdfunding campaign carried out in the past week.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Mathurji Thakor, sarpanch of Dingucha village, said, “Mahendra Bhai travelled to Canada to light a fire to the pyre and conduct the ceremony. Meanwhile, the Patel family conducted a besna ceremony at a small temple in our village today that was attended by the villagers and people from their clan.”