An Indian-origin IT professional who was killed in a deadly crash in Yaphank, Long Island, after a drunk man driving a pickup truck rammed into his sedan, will have to be buried because his wife, the only person who can give consent for his cremation, is in a coma.
That driver, 25-year-old Gustave Geyer, allegedly lost control of his vehicle and slammed into the sedan, killing 38-year-old Chandan Gavai and his parents -- Archana Gavai (60) and Kamalnayan Gavai (74) -- on July 4.
Chandan's 32-year-old wife Manisha, who suffered burns in the accident and is in coma, is the only one who can give consent to his cremation, as per US laws. The couple's 11-month-old son Ibhan survived the crash but has fractured both his arms.
"Our Consulate will bear the expenses for cremation," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had tweeted yesterday. "All members of the family who are in US including Manisha's parents are agreeable to this proposal. We hope to resolve this accordingly. Burial only till his wife Manisha recovers from coma. Once she gives consent, Chandan will also be cremated," she said.
Swaraj also said that the Indian government will help the family get death certificates and insurance money for all the three deceased members of the family from Maharashtra.
Chandan's brother Swapnil has been running from pillar to post in New York to cremate the bodies. Cremation in the US will cost Rs 4 lakh for each body and the businessman from Kalyan said he did not have the money. He approached the government of India for help.
"Bringing the bodies to India will cost us $20,000 (R13.5 lakh) for each body; we don't have that kind of money. The cost for cremating each body right here is around $6,000 (R4 lakh). We have been going to everyone we can, asking for help. Also, the authorities here are saying we cannot claim our brother's body, only his wife can do that," Swapnil told NDTV.
In response, this is what Swaraj tweeted.
a) Cremation of parents in New York— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) July 17, 2016
b) Burial of Chandan as his wife Manisha is in coma and she alone can give consent for his cremation
c) Death certificate for all three members of the family— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) July 17, 2016
d) Help in getting insurance money /3
Our Consulate will bear the expenses for cremation. /4— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) July 17, 2016
(With inputs from PTI)