Parents demand British Sikh daughter's organs back from India



London: The parents of an eight-year-old British Sikh schoolgirl have demanded that an Indian hospital must return her organs for a post-mortem in the UK.

Birmingham-born Gurkiren Kaur Loyal fell ill on a family holiday in Punjab last month and was being treated for dehydration at a clinic in Khanna, Punjab, when staff reportedly gave her a mystery injection.

"She had been vomiting so we took her to the Dr Pardeep Moudgil Clinic on Lalheri Road in Khanna for a check-up. I knew something wasn't right with that injection.

Her head fell back and all the colour drained from her. I knew my little child had been killed," Amrit Kaur Loyal, who fears her daughter may have been a victim of a failed attempt to harvest her organs, told PTI.

Her body was later transferred to the Rajendra Hospital in Patiala, where it is believed her organs were removed during a post-mortem to cover up the cause of death.

"We were told the post-mortem was essential for the body to be released but we had informed them that we would want to conduct a second post-mortem in the UK. They assured us that only small incisions will be made and no organs will be removed. But the Birmingham coroner found no organs," said the bereaved mother from her home in Hockley area of Birmingham.

Coroner Aidan Cotter has opened and adjourned an inquest into the death of Gurkiren until further information is received India.

"A post-mortem examination was carried out, but we were unable to ascertain a cause of death. We are doing everything we can to help the family," a spokesperson for the coroner's office said.

"We are demanding that the organs be returned to Britain so that a proper investigation can be carried out by the coroner here," said the family's local Handsworth councillor Narinder Kaur Kooner, who is leading a campaign for the UK and Indian governments to take action.

"There has been no positive action from either side so far. We are waiting to hear what action they propose to take. We are calling for a broader policy change in the longer term but at the moment our immediate concern is to get the organs back for a post-mortem to be conducted here," she added.

According to Gurkiren's family, the girl was subjected to a "medieval" post-mortem during which all her major organs were removed.

It was only once her body was flown home to Britain that they discovered only her eyes remained.

Local police are believed to have taken their statements but the family is unsure if a proper investigation was carried out.

Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood has also joined the family's campaign for answers.

"It is imperative that we have the chance to independently establish the cause of death with the authorities in the UK," said Mahmood.

The "bright and bubbly" schoolgirl from Nishkam School on Soho Road in Handsworth was on her first foreign holiday visiting her grandmother, who later died.

Besides her mother, she was joined by her postal worker father Santokh Singh Loyal and 17-year-old brother Simran.

Gurkiren was taken to the clinic in Khanna after feeling sick and was placed on a drip after blood tests revealed she was free of infection.

"We can confirm the death of a British national in Punjab on April 2, 2013. We provided consular assistance to the family at this difficult time," the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said.

PTI