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Indian Authorities Confirm Citizen’s Death in Brussels Attacks

BenarNews Staff
New Delhi
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Raghavendran Ganesan, 30, whose death in the Brussels terror attacks was confirmed Monday, appears in an undated photograph.
Photo courtesy of Chandrasekhar Ganesan

Updated at 2:37 p.m. ET on 2016-03-29

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday will attend a memorial service in Brussels for victims of last week’s terror attacks, including a software engineer from Mumbai whose death was confirmed by officials on Monday.

The body of 30-year-old Indian citizen Raghavendran Ganesan, 30, was flown home to India via Amsterdam on Tuesday.

“It is a very hard time for us … [we] lost a great son, a great brother [and] a great human being,” Ganesan’s brother, Chandrasekhar, told BenarNews by phone before he and his parents accompanied Raghavendran’s remains back home.

Ganesan had been working in Brussels for Indian IT firm Infosys for the past four years. Relatives lost contact with him following the March 22 attacks in the Brussels area that killed 35 people and injured more than 300.

His death was confirmed through a DNA test.

“For our embassy, it’s a very sad day. We were always hoping there could be a miracle. That was not to be,” Manjeev Singh Puri, India’s ambassador to Belgium and the European Union, told reporters.

Ganesan, whose wife and 1-month-old baby live in the south Indian city of Chennai, was killed in a bomb explosion last Tuesday at the Maalbeek metro station in central Brussels, said Vikas Swarup, spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs.

The Islamic State (IS) extremist group claimed responsibility for coordinated suicide attacks at the station and at Brussels International Airport, in nearby Zaventem. Two crewmembers of Jet Airways, an Indian carrier, were injured in one of two explosions at the airport.

Prior to his departure for Brussels on Tuesday night for the 13th India-European Union Summit, Modi tweeted of Ganesan’s death: “A young life, full of hope & promise cut short by mindless violence … condolences to family of Raghavendran, who lost his life in Brussels.”

“No words are enough to salute the resilience and spirit of the people of Belgium. We stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the wake of the horrific attacks in Brussels and share the grief of those who lost their loved ones,” Modi said in a pre-departure statement.

The one-day summit on Wednesday will focus on counterterrorism along with areas of mutual interest, including trade and investment, energy, climate, water and migration.

A family’s desperate search

Chandrasekhar Ganesan, a student in Germany, and his parents joined the search in Brussels soon after the family lost contact with Ganesan.

Ganesan’s mother, Annapoorni, was quoted by the Times of India as saying that her son spoke to her via Skype barely an hour before news of the blast at Maalbeek metro station flashed on her TV screen.

“He said he is heading to work. … He takes the same metro route to reach his office,” she said.

The newspaper also quoted an unnamed friend as claiming that Ganesan had posted a message on Facebook saying he was safe after the two blasts at the Zaventem airport. Ganesan could not be reached after the third blast at the Maalbeek metro station, which occurred about an hour later.

Ganesan’s telephone records placed him at the Montgomery metro station just before 9 a.m., according to officials quoted by The Hindu. The Maalbeek station blast, four stops away, occurred at 9:11 a.m.

An Indian embassy official said identification was delayed because of the stringent medical process in Belgium.

“The identity of the deceased was established by authorities in Belgium only on Monday after DNA tests,” the official told BenarNews.

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