Sunday, September 24, 2023

Indians found dead on Canada-U.S. border were farmers from Gujarat

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The four Indian nationals whose bodies were among eight pulled from the St. Lawrence River last week had been travelling in Canada on a tourist visa, a police official from their home state said Monday.

Eight people — four from India and four of Romanian descent — died trying to cross illegally into the United States from Canada through Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, which straddles provincial and international boundaries and includes regions of Quebec, Ontario and New York state.

Praveenbhai was a farmer, Tyagi said, adding that the family was from the Mehsana district, which has a population of about 1.8 million people. Indian police have opened an investigation and met with Chaudhari family members Monday, he said.

Local police are in touch with the Canadian Embassy in India and the RCMP, Tyagi said. Details are sparse, he added, because the investigation is in its early days.

The Chaudharis are at least the second family from Gujarat who have died trying to cross illegally into the U.S. from Canada in the past 18 months.

In January 2022, four members of the Patel family froze to death; their bodies were found metres away from the border, near Emerson, Man. Three people in India have been charged in their deaths, while a Florida man is facing trial in Minnesota for human smuggling.

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