Mangalore: Ten days after her death, the body of nurse Jacintha Saldanha reached Mangalore International Airport around 2.30 pm on Sunday. Her husband Benedict Saldanha, son Junal,16, and Lisha, 14, too flew to Mangalore with Jacintha’s body.
As soon as the family members arrived at the airport, they were received by former minister and AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes, KPCC secretary M.A. Gafoor and family members.
Benedict who looked grief-stricken, thanked Oscar Fernandes for his help and support. He broke down as soon as he saw his sister Janet who pacified her brother and spoke to him for a few minutes. Janet was accompanied by her daughter and a cousin. After speaking for few minutes and pacifying Benedict and the children, all of them came out of the Airport.
The body was taken in an ambulance to the mortuary at KMC Hospital in Manipal. Benedict who reached KMC, completed the formalities and later went to his ancestral house at Shirve. Though national and international media personnel were present at the airport, Benedict and his children kept themselves away from the media.
Jacintha Saldanha, who hailed from Shirva in Udupi district, was duped into transferring a prank call from two Australian radio presenters at the King Edward VII Hospital, London, where the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge- Kate Middleton was being treated. She was found dead in her room near the hospital on December 7, three days after she transferred the hoax call. During an inquest on December 13, UK police said Jacintha was found hanging by the neck from a scarf on a wardrobe door in her room. She also had injuries on one of her wrists. Two notes were found in her room and another in her possessions.
Fernandes told reporters at the airport, “We have been waiting for a long time for the body to come so that we can share the sorrow. I have been to their house. They were touched. They don't want to talk to the media and we should respect that.” He said the Indian government has been very proactive in the case and they needed to know what made Jacintha take the extreme step. The Australians radio DJs had said they did not intend to cause it, but the question was about sensitivity. “We will express our disappointment with Australia. Impersonation is a serious thing. We will take it up with the foreign affairs ministry,” he said.
Former Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda too visited Jacintha's residence at Shirve and conveyed his condolences. “Jacintha's untimely death is very unfortunate. Injustice has been meted out to Indians abroad. The Centre and state should take action,” he said.