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Missing plane family’s ache
- Would have liked to see basic courtesies: husband

Chennai, March 12: The husband of one of the five Indian passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight has faulted the Indian government for failing to reach out to the families but he conceded that the Indian high commissioner was in touch with him “on and off”.

K.S. Narendran, the husband of Chandrika Sharma, accused the government of “inadequate engagement” and he wanted it to do more to liaise on behalf of the families of the Indian passengers.

“It is ironical that a country such as India that has claims to be a regional power with aims to play a prominent role on the global scene has no word on the incident, no offer of assistance for the search and rescue operation till yesterday and no demonstrable offer of assistance to the families of Indian passengers, its very own citizens. I would have liked to see basic courtesies, and honourable assurances,” he told a news conference in Chennai.

The venue was the office of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, an NGO where Chandrika works. She was on her way to a conference when the flight disappeared.

Narendran said that the Indian high commissioner in Malaysia had been in touch “on and off.” The Malaysian Airlines had been in touch to facilitate the family’s transfer to Kuala Lumpur.

“But travelling in the absence of definitive information on the fate of the passengers appears premature. Even if we go there we will be confined to a hotel room and we will have to depend on news from TV channels. We would rather be among our friends, relatives and my wife’s colleagues who have been very supportive,” he said.

Narendran was flanked by his daughter Meghna and an official from the NGO. Narendran was dignified and composed throughout the media conference while his daughter sat silently during the interaction.

“My wife is an Indian citizen. I am an Indian citizen. I pay my taxes here and I vote here. So how can the Indian government shirk its responsibility when its citizens have been impacted?” he said in response to a question whether the Indian government had shifted the onus to the Malaysian government.

Narendran recalled that his wife had last spoken to their daughter from Malaysia. “I spoke to her last when I saw her off from my gate as she left for the Chennai airport,” he said.