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Family want to bring son home

Parents of a 26-year-old man who died in a crash in Carterton last week are trying to get his body back to India for his funeral and cremation.

His father, Manoj Kumar Rajak, said he had lost his “only hope” when his son died.

Vishal Anand was driving to Wellington from Martinborough last Wednesday morning when he lost control of his vehicle and hit an oncoming car on Ponatahi Rd.

Anand died on the scene. The driver of the other car was seriously injured.

The Times-Age reported last week that Ponatahi Rd was closed to traffic for several hours, while police established a crime scene and the Serious Crash Unit investigated.

Witnesses to the crash reportedly administered first aid while awaiting the arrival of emergency services.

Police confirmed that there were no other passengers involved.

Anand’s father Manoj Kumar Rajak told Indian Newslink that he and his wife Monika are devastated and that their only desire now was to see the body of their son and cremate him.

“We were looking forward to Vishal settling down in life and raising a family. Since our other son has renounced his social life and family and joined Hare Krishna Mandir in Ahmedabad, Vishal was our only hope.

“I have taken a loan of Rs11.9 [about NZ $23,000] for the higher education of Vishal in New Zealand.

“In addition, I have other loans totalling Rs49.5 [about NZ $95,000]. We are a very modest family. I hope that the Indian High Commission in New Zealand will help us by paying for the repatriation of my son’s body,” he said.

Soon after receiving news of the crash, family friends Satpal Mahida, Sachin Paul, and Saurabh Nautiyal rallied together to help the grieving family.

Paul said as well as contacting the police, he got in touch with the Indian High Commission in Wellington.

He said the commission has been very understanding and offered all possible assistance.

“Vishal’s body was released by the Coroner and sent to the funeral home where it is being preserved prior to transportation to India,” Paul said.

Rajak said he had prepared letters and documents to be sent to the High Commission in Wellington. He is also seeking the possible support of the Bank of Baroda in India and the Bank of Baroda based in New Zealand.

“Vishal celebrated his 26th birthday on September 4. I never imagined that he would leave us so soon. We were hoping to meet him next year; now we await his dead body,” Rajak said.

Paul said after the completion of his education in India, Anand arrived in New Zealand in February 2020 and joined the Ara Institute of Canterbury and completed a course in IT Networking the same year.

“In December 2020, he worked for First Security Company at Ara Institute of Technology and later joined Spark as a Service Desk Analyst. In November 2022, he joined the South Wairarapa District Council. I feel terrible every time I speak to his inconsolable father. He was energetic, good-natured and a family-oriented young man,” he said.

Joining the efforts of Paul was Gujarati Mrudang Patel who owned a dairy store in Carterton.

He has been working with police, the Indian High Commission, and Rajak since the incident and offering help.

“I have also rallied the support of the members of the Wairarapa Indian Association. We are not related to Vishal, in fact, we did not even know him, but as a fellow human being and as a fellow Indian, we feel for his family.”

At the time of publication, $18,155 had been raised on a GiveALittle page.

The page said all money raised would go towards sending Anand’s body back to India, his funeral service, and to his family.

Donate at https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/repatriation-funeral-service-and-family-help.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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