India summons Irish envoy, tells Dublin to keep it informed on Savita probe


India summoned the Irish Ambassador on Friday to convey its "concern and angst" over the "untimely and tragic" death of an Indian dentist in Ireland, who succumbed to blood poisoning after being denied abortion. The government also told Ambassador Feilim McLaughlin that it hoped that the ongoing inquiry would be "independent", and that the Indian envoy in Dublin would be kept informed about its progress.

McLaughlin assured that Ireland would cooperate in the inquiries into the circumstances around 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar's death.

"MEA's Secretary (West) Madhusudan Ganapathi told the Ambassador that India was unhappy that a young life had come to an untimely end," an official said. "The Ambassador said that the terms of reference for the inquiry are being framed and would be released shortly."

The Indian Ambassador to Ireland has also taken up the matter with the Irish government.

Doctors had refused to terminate Halappanavar's 17-week pregnancy despite a miscarriage, allegedly telling her that "this is a Catholic country". "Saving the life of the mother is of prime importance, if you can't save the life of the child," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Friday.

A BJP delegation also met McLaughlin on Friday "to lodge a protest" and demand justice for the family.

With thousands taking to the streets in protest in Ireland, the Irish government pledged to clarify its abortion laws. "I was deeply disturbed yesterday by what Savita's husband said. I don't think as a country we should allow a situation where women's rights are put at risk in this way," Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore told Parliament. "We need to bring legal clarity to this issue and that is what we are going to do."

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