"Interests of citizens of India are safeguarded by GoI": BJP's V Muraleedharan on Kerala Minister's visit to Kuwait

Jun 14, 2024

Ernakulam (Kerala) [India], June 14 : BJP leader and former Union Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan, said on Friday that there was no need for a Kerala minister to go to Kuwait to coordinate the relief operation in the aftermath of a fire incident in the Gulf nation that killed 45 Indians, most of them from Kerala.
He said that the interests of Indian citizens who live abroad are safeguarded by the Government of India.
"The interests of the citizens of India are safeguarded by the Government of India, so I really don't see why a particular state minister has to travel to a foreign country to take care of the issues of the people of that state," Muraleedharan told ANI.
The Kerala Health Minister, Veena George, earlier said that she was not given clearance by the Central government to go to Kuwait to coordinate the repatriation of the bodies and assist the injured in the fire incident.
The BJP leader also laid out the measures taken by the central government in the aftermath of the incident.
"After the incident happened, the Prime Minister convened a high-level meeting in the presence of the External Affairs Minister. The Ministers of State MEA, on the directions of the Prime Minister, travelled to Kuwait yesterday. He supervised the repatriation of the mortal remains to India and also the treatment that was being administered to the injured in the tragedy. He will be accompanying all the mortal remains to India," Muraleedharan said.
Earlier in the day, after George was not given permission to visit Kuwait, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, "There have been some wrong approaches, but now is not the time for that controversy."
The Chief Minister, however, acknowledged the efforts on the part of the Governments of India and Kuwait in their intervention following the fire tragedy.
A special aircraft of the Indian Air Force carrying the bodies of Indians killed in the June 12 Kuwait building fire landed in Kerala's Cochin International Airport earlier today.
Speaking to reporters before the flight's landing, the Chief Minister said, "It is a never-ending loss for the families... The Government of Kuwait has taken effective and impeccable measures. It is expected that the follow-up will be flawless. When it came to know about the disaster, the Government of India also intervened in a proper manner."
A special Indian Air Force aircraft carrying the mortal remains of Indian victims in the fire incident in Kuwait arrived at the Cochin International Airport here on Friday.
Union Minister of State Singh VK Singh, who rushed to Kuwait on Thursday, is onboard the flight carrying the bodies.
Union Minister Suresh Gopi and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan were among those who were present at the airport.
Kerala Ministers Veena George, P Rajeev, K Rajan and Roshi Augustin were also present at the airport to receive the mortal remains.
Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan, Union Minister Suresh Gopi, Congress MP Hibi Eden, BJP state president K Surendran and former Union Minister V Muraleedharan among others had also arrived ahead of the flight's landing.
Speaking to ANI, Kerala Minister P Rajeev said that special ambulances have been arranged for each deceased and a police pilot has also been provided.
"Out of 45 deceased, the bodies of the residents of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka will be brought here," the Minister said.
The mortal remains of 31 victims brought to Kerala, included 23 from Kerala, seven from Tamil Nadu and one from Karnataka.
He further said that the state government is coordinating with the government of Tamil Nadu. The mortal remains of seven victims from Tamil Nadu were also brought to Kochi by the special aircraft.
At least 45 Indians died in the huge fire that broke out in a labour accommodation in Kuwait's Mangaf on June 12. This includes 23 from Kerala, seven from Tamil Nadu, three from Andhra Pradesh, and one each from Bihar, Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Punjab and West Bengal.