Body of accident victim flown back to India

Venkat Raman

Auckland, September 21, 2017

The body of Rajkumar Prajapati, a young man who died in a road accident, was sent back to his family in India last week.

Reuben Mathias, a friend of the deceased and that of the family handled all arrangements with the help of the Indian High Commissioner, the employers of Rajkumar, the community and Indian Newslink.

There were several last minute hassles and official formalities to be followed, all of which were cleared by the timely intervention of the Indian High Commission upon the instructions of the High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli and Head of Chancery Sandeep Sood.

The High Commission was ready to meet the cost of rehabilitation of the body of Rajkumar but donations from Rajkumar’s employers were sufficient to meet relevant costs.

Mr Mathias said that the body was flown by Emirates to Delhi, where the family of the deceased man had gathered to perform his last rites.

Following an appeal by Indian Newslink and Mr Mathias, public contribution to the Indian Newslink Community Fund had reached $3899 (details below); the amount is being handed over to Mr Mathias to be given to the family of Rajkumar.

The body was flown in an Emirates flight departing Auckland on September 14, 2017.

The Tragic Incident

Thirty-three-year-old Rajkumar was killed at the notorious Bells Crossing in Huntly when a heavy commercial truck hit him on Thursday, September 7, 2017.

Indian Newslink coordinated efforts with the Waikato and Counties Manukau District Police, the Indian High Commission, the family of the deceased, and most important of all, Reuben Mathias, a close friend of Rajkumar.

Emotional undertaking

Reuben has been at the forefront of issues in this unfortunate incident. He had taken the responsibility of sending the body of Rajkumar to Delhi where Rajkumar’s brother Ramkumar and his family live. Their parents, live in Hazaribagh, a village in Jharkhand State. Rajkumar’s wife Apurna lives in her family home in Bihar and works at the Regional office of the Madhya Bihar Gramin Bank.

They were married only in December last year and Apurna was due to arrive in New Zealand on November 11, 2017.

Sacrifice for family

Reuben, who has known Rajkumar and his family well for many years, said that it was a devastating experience since his friend died.

“I was shocked and could not believe that my dear friend had met with such tragic death. We have worked together for many years and Raj was always admired and respected as a man of compassion and love for his family. He worked hard to meet the financial needs of his parents, often denying to himself even simple pleasures of life. He had established a direct-sales security product company and very recently set up a diary to augment his income. His had planned to bring his wife Apurna to live with him in New Zealand,” Reuben said.

Apurna told us that she had cancelled her visit following her husband’s death.

Reuben said that Rajkumar led an extremely modest life.

“He lived in a small place behind the dairy in Hamilton and spent very little on his own food and clothing. He was always concerned about his family and his wife.”

Give A Little Donation

On Friday, September 8, 2017, Reuben set up ‘Help the Kumar Family’ on the website of ‘Give A Little,’ an initiative of the Spark Foundation.

Reuben said that about $23,048 had been donated as at 125 pm today (September 21).

“However, it would take at least one month for the money to be transferred out of this account.” he said.

Indian Newslink Indian Community Fund

Indian Newslink coordinated with the various Indian associations and the Indian High Commission to help the family generate immediate funds. The publication had announced that donations could be made to the ‘Indian Newslink Indian Community Fund’- Bank Account Westpac 03-0207-0009395-002. Collections received up to September 20 will be sent to the family,” Reuben said.

Mr Kohli and Mr Sood wrote to us extending all support and help.

“We will explore all avenues to help the family in need,” they had said.

Speaking to Indian Newslink from Delhi, Ramkumar said that his family was shattered.

“Our family was completely dependent on Rajkumar. We belong to a middle-class family and residing in Hazaribagh, a village in Jharkhand State,” he said.

Reuben said that he would visit the Prajapati family in India in December and deliver the personal effects of the deceased.

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Photo Caption:

  1. Rajkumar with his wife Apurna at their wedding in December 2016. To the extreme right is Ramkumar Prajapati
  2. Rajkumar with his mother Kanchan Devi at the Wedding

(Photos supplied by the Prajapati family)

  1. Reuben Mathias

Donations received into the Indian Newslink Community Fund:

No Organisation Amount Paid Date
1 Gujarat Parivar $ 505.00 11.09.2017
2 Dev Bhoomi Association of Wellington $2300.00 13.09.2017
3 Rishi $ 100.00 20.09.2017
4 Bhana & Patel (on behalf of Indian Central Association) NZICA $1000.00 20.09.2017
Total $3905.00 21.09.2017
Less Bank Charges 6.00 21.09.2017
Net amount for the Rajkumar Family $3899.00

The names of above donors will appear in Indian Newslink October 1, 2017 issue.

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