Reports of a family of four freezing to death while attempting to cross the US-Canada border has triggered concern in a village in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar district after a resident said he was unable to contact his relatives who recently left for Canada.
The family in Dingucha village was anxious over reports of the four Indians, including a baby, believed to be Gujaratis, dying from exposure to extreme cold weather along the US-Canada border in what authorities of those countries believe was a failed crossing attempt during a blizzard.
Gandhinagar Collector Kuldeep Arya told news agency PTI that he had learnt about a family from Dingucha village going to Canada, but has not received any information regarding those killed, or if they belonging to this village.
There has been no official communication from either the Ministry of External Affairs or Union Home Ministry over this either, Mr Arya added.
A cousin of one Jagdish Patel, who recently left for Canada along with his wife and two children, said the family in Gujarat’s Kalol taluka is worried as they remain out of contact at present.
“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 told reporters.
He said the Central government must give details about the victims.
Meanwhile, expressing grief over the report of the death of the family, former state deputy chief minister Nitin Patel said that lack of opportunities in India make people migrate to the US, Canada and Australia in large numbers.
“Why do people go to the US, Canada and Australia? Because there is a lack of opportunity here. They don’t find jobs despite working hard. This is why they spend huge amounts of money and take a lot of risk to migrate to the US,” Mr Patel said, while addressing a gathering at an event of the Patidar community.
He said once Gujaratis reach the US, they do not need to worry because of the presence of a large number of people from the state there, but “their main concern is to the cross the border”.
The senior BJP leader claimed the victims were members of the Patidar community and questioned as to how such a “tragic incident” occurred.
“Here there is lack of opportunity, the future is not bright. Despite working and studying hard, people do not get proper position,” he said.
A family of four Indian nationals were found frozen to death just inside the Canadian side of the International border with the US as they reportedly attempted to cross over illegally this week.
A complaint filed over the incident said those believed to be in the same group spoke Gujarati and most had limited knowledge of English.