|Flowers and toys are left at the crash site in eastern Ukraine. (AFP)
New Delhi, July 20: At least 10 Indian-origin fliers were on the Malaysia Airlines plane brought down by a missile over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, Kuala Lumpur authorities have confirmed to New Delhi.
The foreign office has instructed the Indian high commission in Kuala Lumpur to assist the families of all the Indian-origin fliers in reaching out to relatives in India or to the Indian government, senior officials told The Telegraph.
“Ultimately, they’re Malaysian nationals — so the government in Kuala Lumpur has to address most of their concerns. But we are ready to offer any assistance needed,” an official said.
“That help could come in the form of connecting with relatives or, if they so feel, in communicating a message to the Malaysian government.”
Statistically, one fact stands out from the passenger list of Flight MH-17 — the plane was headed to one of Asia’s busiest connecting terminals and yet had no Chinese or Indian nationals on board.
China and India, the world’s two most populous nations, together account for more than a third of the global population. The world’s third most populous nation, the US, lost one citizen whose principal — original and still held — passport was Dutch. The plane, which flew out of Amsterdam, had 192 Dutch nationals, the most from any country.
But the 44 Malaysians — the second-highest from any nation — on board included at least eight Indian-origin flyers, serving a reminder that India’s constantly expanding immigrant population means that disasters in most parts of the world today resonate in at least some homes in India.
Two of the Dutch nationals too are of Indian-Surinamese origin.
The eight Indian-origin Malaysians include Sanjid Singh Sandhu, the 41-year-old flight steward who had tragically switched shifts with a colleague. Just months earlier, his wife, also a Malaysia Airlines stewardess, had swapped out of duty on the MH-370 that went missing.
Another Indian-origin person on board was 30-year-old flight stewardess Angeline Premila Rajandaran, who would have served the passengers with Sandhu.
Paul Rajasingam Sivagnanam, top IT executive for oil major Shell in Malaysia, was on MH-17 with wife Mabel Anthonysamy and their nine-year-old son, third standard student Matthew Ezekial. The ages of Sivagnanam and Anthonysamy could not be confirmed.
“It is with great sadness that I inform you (of their death),” family friend Patrick J. Thomas, who went to the same church as Sivagnanam and his family, wrote on Facebook.
“May their souls and the souls of all those who perished rest in peace.”
Subashni Jretnam, Karamjit Singh and Kaushalya Jairamdas Datin Punjabi were the other Indian-origin Malaysians on the flight. The three were not travelling together.
Rishi Jhinkoe and Natashja Binda, a Dutch couple of Indian-Surinamese origin who worked in The Hague, were also on the plane.
The 10 Indian-origin fliers who were on MH-17
- Natashja Binda
- Subashni Jretnam
- Rishi Jhinkoe
- Kaushalya Jairamdas Datin Punjabi
- Angeline Premila
- Sanjid Singh Sandhu
- Karamjit Singh
- Mabel Anthonysamy
- Matthew Ezekial Sivagnanam, 9
- Paul Rajasingam Sivagnanam