Shimla: Living in a small village in Himachal Pradesh’s Hamirpur district, the family of Manjit Singh who was working on merchant vessel Gulf Dove in Yemen, is yet to come to terms with his reported death. His brother refuses to believe that Manjit, 28, who sustained shrapnel injuries in a bomb blast in Aden harbour, will not come back, while his aged parents and his wife have not been told about the tragedy.
“There is no official confirmation about his death from the government of India. But his colleagues informed me over the telephone that he succumbed to his injuries,” the victim’s brother Parveen Kumar, an Indian Army personnel, told IANS over the phone. He said he was informed that Manjit Singh was standing on the deck of the ship when he received shrapnel injuries.
Manjit Singh, the youngest of four siblings, belonged to Chamboh village in Bhoranj sub-division, some 25 km from district headquarters Hamirpur. He had been at sea for the past two months. He is survived by his wife and two daughters, one aged three years and the other only two months old.
His father, Captain (retd.) Parkash Chand, was admitted to a local hospital as his blood sugar had risen alarmingly, said the victim’s uncle Vinod Kumar.
Manjit Singh’s colleagues, one of whom hails from Punjab, are bringing his body back to India. “We have been informed that the body will reach here in two-three days,” Vinod Kumar added.
India on Friday ended “Operation Rahat”, the massive evacuation of its nationals from Yemen, pulling out 5,600 people – 4,640 Indians and 960 nationals from 41 other countries – but some 200 Indians have declined to leave the country despite the shelling and bombing intensifying.
Anil Wadhwa, secretary (East) in the external affairs ministry, told IANS in New Delhi that there are some 200 Indians who are refusing to leave Yemen, though Indian officials are regularly urging them to get out. “The main difficulty is that some people don’t want to get out. There are around 200 people who are refusing to leave,” Wadhwa said.
Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh, who returned on Friday morning, said that “Mission Yemen” had been successful because of good team work and coordination.
Speaking to reporters, he said that there was good coordination between Air India, the Indian Air Force, the Indian Navy and the external affairs ministry. India had posted 20 officials to oversee the evacuation effort, including five in Djibouti and five in Sana’a.