Details of Missing Gujarat Family Matches With 4 Found Frozen to Death in Canada

A resident of Dingucha village in Gujarat said he was unable to contact his relatives who recently left for Canada.

3 min read
Hindi Female

A day after reports emerged that the family of four Indians that froze to death at the United States-Canada border was from a village in Gujarat, a village called Dingucha of Kalol Tehsil in Gandhinagar district became the centre of attention.

According to The Indian Express, police showed up at the village on Saturday, 22 January, and contacted a man whose family members had recently travelled to Canada and who are now missing.

Police and relatives said the descriptions of the missing family members from Dingucha village – a 39-year-old man, his 37-year-old wife, and their 17-year-old daughter and four-year-old son – matched those of the four Indians found frozen to death in Manitoba, Canada, on Wednesday.

It was reported by the Times of India, that the Gujarat CID (Criminal Investigation Department) had launched a probe into the deaths of the victims, who were identified as Jagdish Patel, 35, his wife, Vaishali, 33, and their children Vihanga, 12, and Dharmik, 3.

However, Canadian authorities have refused to disclose the names of the victims.

"Authorities have told us that the bodies of the victims can be identified only after they have been 'defrosted'. It may take one or two days," news agency IANS quoted an Indian source in Winnipeg as saying.


No Contact With the Family Since Wednesday

A resident of the village said he was unable to contact his relatives who recently left for Canada, reported PTI. The man's family was anxious over reports that a family of four Indians, including an infant, froze to death on the Canadian side of the United States-Canada border on Wednesday, 19 January.

As per the reports, the family was part of a group of 11 individuals from Gujarat who were on their route to cross into the US as part of a human smuggling operation but froze to death in a failed crossing attempt during a blizzard.

One Jagdish Patel had recently left for Canada along with his wife and two children. His cousin, Jaswant Patel, said the family in Gujarat's Kalol taluka was worried as they had not been able to contact them.

"We are extremely worried after coming across news reports of four members of a family dying while attempting to cross the US-Canada border. My cousin recently left for Canada with his wife and two children, and we have not been able to talk to them since the last three-four days," Jaswant Patel said, adding that the Central government must give details about the victims, reported PTI.

No Official Communication From MEA or Home Ministry

The residents of the village who knew the family said they had flown to Canada on visitor visas last Monday and had not been in contact with their relatives since Wednesday, which is the same day the four bodies were found near Emerson town in Manitoba, Canada.

Gandhinagar Collector Kuldeep Arya told PTI that he had learnt about a family from Dingucha village going to Canada. However, he said that he had not received any information regarding those who had been killed or if they belonged to the said village. He also said that there had been no official communication from either the Ministry of External Affairs or Union Home Ministry on the matter.

Meanwhile, KK Desai, police inspector, Kalol Taluka police station, told The Indian Express:

"As per our records, the family went to Canada on visitor visas, so there is no ground for investigation unless we are intimated by the MEA… However, a team did visit the village on Saturday, and we have found that there is a family of five there, four of whom had gone to Canada, leaving behind the sexagenarian grandfather. We have found out that he has now moved to Ahmedabad to stay with his younger brother."

Amritbhai Vakil (69), a relative of the missing family, also told the daily:

"I visited their house on Friday and congratulated the man's father, saying that his son and daughter-in-law were about to build new lives, and there was nothing to worry. He told me that he was unable to contact them. On Saturday, I heard about the dead Indian family on TV."

(With inputs from The Indian Express and PTI.)

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