New Delhi: In a tragic incident 4 Indian nationals, including an infant, have frozen to death on the Canadian side of the border with the United States in what is suspected to be a human smuggling operation, said the Canadian police.
All four were from the same family and part of a larger group trying to enter the US by walking across snow-covered fields in a remote area during blizzard-like conditions. They died about 10 km east of Emerson, a small farming community.
A local official informed there was no shelter at all in the area.
Expressing shock over the incident, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has asked ambassadors in the two countries to urgently respond to the situation.
Indian envoy to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu described it as an unfortunate and tragic incident.
“We are in touch with US authorities on their ongoing investigation. A consular team from @IndiainChicago is travelling today to Minnesota to coordinate and provide any assistance required,” he tweeted.
An unfortunate and tragic incident. We are in touch with US authorities on their ongoing investigation. A consular team from @IndiainChicago is travelling today to Minnesota to coordinate and provide any assistance required https://t.co/syyA59EoB2
— Taranjit Singh Sandhu (@SandhuTaranjitS) January 21, 2022
India’s High Commissioner to Canada Ajay Bisaria described the incident as a “grave tragedy”.
“An Indian consular team is travelling today from @IndiainToronto to Manitoba to coordinate and help. We will work with Canadian authorities to investigate these disturbing events,” he said.
‘Absolutely mind-blowing story’, says Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed that it was an absolutely mind-blowing story and said that his country is doing all it can to stop people smuggling across the US border.
“It was an absolutely mind-blowing story. It`s so tragic to see a family die like that, victims of human traffickers and of people who took advantage of their desire to build a better life,” Trudeau told a news conference.
“This is why we are doing all we can to discourage people from crossing the border in an irregular or illicit manner,” he added.
Canada, Trudeau said, was working very closely with the United States to stop smuggling and help people “taking unacceptable risks.”