India airs anguish to Irish envoy, hopes for free probe

New Delhi, Nov 16: Voicing concern and angst over the death of an Indian woman after doctors in Ireland denied her an abortion, India Friday summoned Irish Ambassador Feilim McLaughlin and hoped that the inquiry into the tragedy would be independent.

The Irish envoy was summoned by M. Ganapathi, secretary (west) in the external affairs ministry.

During his meeting with the Irish ambassador, Ganapathi expressed India’s concern and angst about the untimely and tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, official sources said here.

Ganapthy stressed that people in India were unhappy that “a young life had come to an untimely end”.

Halappanavar arrived Oct 21 with back pain at Galway University Hospital in Ireland where she was found to be miscarrying at 17 weeks. She died of septicaemia Oct 28.

Doctors in the hospital refused to abort her foetus on grounds that “this is a Catholic country”.

Ganapathy expressed the hope that the inquiry would be independent and that the Indian ambassador in Dublin would be kept informed of its progress and outcomes, said the sources.

The Irish envoy assured full cooperation. He also indicated that the terms of reference for the inquiry are being framed and would be released shortly.

Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi stressed that a high−level inquiry should be done and the culprits brought to book. The government was ready to give all assistance, including legal, to the family of the victim, said Ravi.

India’s envoy to Ireland will Friday officially raise New Delhi’s concerns over Halappanavar’s with the Irish government.

The envoy is expected to present facts as they have been given by the family of the deceased, said highly−placed sources in the external affairs ministry.

“Saving the life of the mother is of prime importance, if you can’t save the life of the child,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters here Friday.

“It’s an extremely sad and unfortunate thing to happen,” said the source.

Halappanavar’s death has sparked an outrage in India.

In an official statement Thursday, India said the “tragic death” of the Indian woman in Ireland, after she was denied abortion, was a “matter of concern” and its embassy in Dublin was following the matter closely.

The ministry said the Indian government was awaiting the results of two probes ordered into the death by the Irish government.

IANS