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In a touching and humane gesture, Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis moved the Centre and Ministry of External Affairs to bring back the body of a medical student from Raigad District, who passed away recently in war-ravaged Ukraine.

On February 2, the Pawar family of Roha town was devastated to learn of the death of the ailing Dr. Prachiti Deepak Pawar, 21, in Kyiv. The country has been at war with Russia since February 24, 2022 and citizens as well as foreigners, especially students, face major constraints there.

The news of Dr Prachiti’s demise reached the Pawar family through her friends and colleagues in the Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University.

On January 25, she was rushed in a critical condition to the KNP Central City Clinical Hospital, of the Ivano-Frankivsk City Council, and underwent surgery there.

As per a medical report of the university Dean (FCTD) Dmytro Solomchak, the young student was diagnosed with “phlegmon of the right axillary area with spread to the right shoulder, side wall of the chest, besides Sepsis, Septic Shock, Septic Encephalopathy, Multiple Organ Failure, Bilateral pneumonia, and respiratory failure of the second degree.”

However, Dr. Prachiti succumbed to her illnesses on February 2, even as her friends appealed to the Indian Embassy in Kyiv, the Ministry of External Affairs and others to help secure a visa for her mother Devayani Pawar, a government employee, and Dr. Prachiti’s twin sister, Aditi, who is studying aviation in a college in Salem, Tamil Nadu.

The BJP’s Maharashtra social media chief, Prakash Gade learnt of the matter and he immediately brought it to the notice of Fadnavis.

“The mother was worried whether her daughter would get a decent funeral or not, as she died in a foreign country. The family here couldn’t afford to go there and bring back her body,” Gade said.

Moved by the family’s plight, Fadnavis asked Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan and other officials for assistance.

Fadnavis also directed his team in Mumbai and New Delhi, comprising Dilip Rajurkar and Manoj Munde, to regularly track the developments in the case and he himself monitored the movements in Ukraine and India.

All these efforts proved successful, and the MEA started moving various departments and the Indian Embassy in Kyiv, to bring Dr. Prachiti’s remains back to India expeditiously.

“Finally, a weekly cargo flight from Kyiv, via Poland, landed at Mumbai Airport with Dr. Prachiti’s mortal remains on February 13. Fadnavis arranged for an ambulance and the body was taken by road to Roha town the following day where her last rites were performed on February 14,” said Gade.

Besides the family comprising Devayani Pawar and her daughter Aditi, an uncle and a large number of people from Roha turned up to pay their respects to Dr. Prachiti.

Dr. Prachiti’s father, Deepak H. Pawar, a Mumbai Police official, died due to a heart attack over 12 years ago, leaving behind the young twins, barely aged 10 then, in the care of Devyani.

“Dr. Prachiti’s mother had taken an education loan to pay for her medical education in Ukraine as the family has very limited financial resources,” revealed Gade.

An official added that owing to Fadnavis’ personal intervention in the matter, a tragedy-struck family could get the ‘antim-darshan’ of the girl who passed away in an alien land, and also perform her dignified ‘antim-sanskaar’ in her motherland.