Bhuj (Gujarat), August 28
NRIs Kishan Halai and his 25-year-old fianceé Rupal Vekaria, who were among the three persons who died in the fire in a Mumbai-based hotel on Sunday, were supposed to get married in Nairobi after flying out of the Maharashtra capital but the destiny wished otherwise.
Kishan, Rupal, her mother and sister were accommodated in the ground-plus-four-storey Galaxy Hotel in suburban Santacruz by the airlines concerned after their flight was rescheduled, said Suresh Kara, sarpanch of Rampar village in Mandvi taluka of Gujarat’s Kutch district.
The families of Kishan Halai and the Vekarias hail from Rampar village.
The blaze broke out on the third floor of the hotel on Sunday afternoon, killing Kishan Halai (28), Rupal Vekaria (25), and another person Kantilal Vara (50).
Rupal's mother Manjulaben (49), sister Alpa (19), and one Aslam Sheikh (48) were injured in the incident, officials said.
“Kishan Halai and his fiancée Rupal Vekaria were settled in Nairobi for several years,” said Kara.
The deceased Kantilal Vara was not related to Vekarias and Kishan.
According to Kara, the families of Kishan and Rupal remained connected to their roots despite settling abroad many years ago. Their ancestral houses are still there in Rampar village.
“Kishan and Rupal were engaged and were planning to get married soon after reaching Nairobi, where they were residing for many years with their parents and siblings. Kishan, Rupal and their families came to India nearly a month back to attend the wedding of Kishan’s younger brother in the village. The newly-married couple along with Kishan’s parents had left for Kenya a week back,” said Kara.
He said Kishan's grandparents still live in Rampar village. While Kishan was born and brought up in the village till he became a teenager, Rupal was born in Nairobi. Kishan moved to Nairobi with his parents when he was around 13, Kara added.
After finishing shopping and meeting relatives in Gujarat, Kishan, Rupal, her parents, and sister planned to leave India on Saturday, said the sarpanch.
“They all reached Mumbai from Ahmedabad on Saturday to board a flight for Nairobi. As the flight was rescheduled, the airline accommodated them in a nearby hotel in Santacruz where the fire erupted on Sunday,” said Kara. He said the Vekaria family would decide on the location for performing the last rites.
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