Families participate in ceremony which followed an all-religion prayer

The remains of 12 unidentified victims of the May 22 Air India Express flight crash were buried in graves labelled by numbers at a simple ceremony here on Wednesday.

After an all-religion prayer, the bodies were buried on an empty plot owned by the New Mangalore Port Trust on the banks of the Gurupura river near Kudremukh iron Ore Ltd. factory at Kuloor.

M.B. Puranik of the Vishwa Hindu Parishat , Vicar General of the Mangalore Catholic Diocese, Father Dennis Prabhu, and Imam of the Bolar Jumma Masjid, Ilias Baquabi, conducted the prayers.

The ceremony was organised by the district administration, which took possession of the bodies under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, after DNA tests failed to identify them. The 12 bodies could not be identified because some families took away bodies that did not belong to them. The DNA samples taken from the 12 claimant families did not match those of the unclaimed bodies.

The 12 persons whose remains were taken away by other families are K.K. Shetty, Vaman Prabhu, Mohammed Ismael Hassan, Naved Ibrahim, Ignatius D'Souza, Zainab Mohammed Ziad, Mohammed Zubair Ziad, Aboobacker Siddeeq, Abdul Azeez, Abdul Basheer K.M. Sukumaran Kuzhiyam Kottuchal and Sujatha Survase.

Unmindful of the fact that none of the bodies buried on Wednesday belonged to them, the families participated in the ceremony in a symbolic gesture.

Speaking to The Hindu, Sadanandan, the brother of Sukumaran Kuzhiyam whose body could not be traced, said: “Somebody else performed the last rites for my brother. I am here to pay my last respects to their kin whose body is here.”

Mujib, a relative of Abdul Azeez, said: “We have not told Azeez's wife that his body has not been found. She believes that his funeral is being conducted as per the rituals.”

Among those present were Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel and district in-charge Minster J. Krishna Palemar.