Death of woman in Ireland matter of concern: India

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Nov 15 (IANS) India Thursday said the "tragic death" of an Indian woman in Ireland, who was denied abortion, was a "matter of concern" and its embassy in Dublin was following the matter closely.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded the government should take serious note of the incident and help provide speedy justice to the woman's family.

Responding to a media query on the death of Savita Halappanavar, 31, who collapsed after doctors in an Ireland hospital refused to abort her foetus on grounds that "this is a Catholic country", the external affairs ministry said: "We deeply regret the tragic death of Ms. Halappanavar. The death of an Indian national in such circumstances is a matter of concern."

"Our embassy in Dublin is following the matter closely," the external affairs spokesperson said, adding that the embassy was in touch with the family.

"Our sympathies have been conveyed to the next of kin who our embassy has been in touch with," the spokesperson added.

He said the Indian government was also awaiting the results of two probes ordered into the death by the Irish government. "We understand that the Irish authorities have initiated two inquiries. We are awaiting the results of the inquiries," the spokesperson added.

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

BJP MP Smriti Irani, who heads the party's women's cell, Thursday wrote a letter to External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid demanding that the government should take a serious note of the human rights violations of Halappanavar and provide speedy justice to her family after engaging with the Ireland.

The BJP leader said in the letter that repeated pleas were made to ensure medical termination of her pregnancy, but intervention was refused by the hospital on the ground that it was a Catholic country.

"Savita, it is reported, told the hospital that she was neither Catholic nor Irish. It is also believed that Savita's husband was not alerted regarding the consequences of the hospital's inaction which resulted in her death," Irani said.

The BJP leader said she was of belief that no religion permits the murder of an innocent woman.

"The hospital knowingly endangered the life of young Savita. It is shocking that the doctors chose to let their religious beliefs override 'Hippocratic Oath'," she said.