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Killed student’s body to be flown back to India once shelling stops: K’taka CM Bommai

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

Bengaluru: The body of Naveen Shekharappa, the Indian student killed in Russian bombing in Ukraine last week, is in a mortuary in Kharkiv and will be flown back when the shelling stops, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said today, quoting the Foreign Minister.

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“The External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has informed us that Naveen’s body has been embalmed and kept in a mortuary in Ukraine. His body will be brought to India once shelling stops there,” Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai told reporters.

Naveen Shekharappa, 21, was killed in Russian shelling on a government building in Kharkiv last Tuesday. A student at the Kharkiv National Medical University, he had gone out of his bunker to stock up on supplies before leaving the city and was standing in a queue outside a grocery store when he was killed.

Naveen’s father Shekharappa Gyanagowda had told NDTV last Wednesday that he was assured by the government his body would be brought home “within two days”. He said he had requested both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Karnataka Chief Minister to help bring his son’s body home.

But a BJP MLA’s comment on a dead body “taking up more space in a flight” provoked a huge controversy.

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The Karnataka MLA, Arvind Bellad, had told reporters that the priority was to bring back hundreds of students stuck in Ukraine and instead of a coffin, nearly eight to 10 people could be accommodated on a plane.

“The government is putting in all efforts to bring back the mortal remains of Naveen. Ukraine is a war zone and everyone is aware of it. Efforts are being made and if possible, the body will be brought back,” Mr Bellad had said.

“While it is very challenging to bring back those who are alive, it has become even more difficult to bring back the dead because a dead body will consume more space on the flight. Instead, eight to 10 persons can be accommodated in place of a dead body, which would consume more space,” he had said.

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