Ahmedabad: Shops remained shut and streets were deserted in Dingucha village in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar district on Saturday as villagers paid homage to the four members of a family, who died of the extreme cold near the Canada-US border recently.

Villagers shared the grief of the Patel family, who lost their four members, including two children, by suspending work and downing the shutters of the shops in the market, a local office-bearer of the village said.

The village, from where a significant number of people have migrated abroad, mainly to the US, Canada and Australia over the past many decades, wore a deserted look on Saturday, locals said. A majority of the local residents belong to the Patidar community.

Initially, the village was not ready to believe that the four persons, including a baby, who died on the US-Canada border belonged to the family of Baldevbhai Patel, they said. However, they later came to terms with the hard fact that the deceased were his son Jagdish Patel (39), daughter-in-law Vaishali (37), grand daughter Vihangi (11), and grandson Dharmik (3), after Canadian authorities confirmed their identities.

Following the confirmation of identity, relatives and some local women had gathered at the Patel family’s ancestral house at Dingucha on Friday to mourn the deaths.

As per the Canadian authorities, the Patel family had arrived in Toronto on January 12, 2022. From there, they made their way to Manitoba and eventually to Emerson around January 18, a day before they tragically died near the border due to exposure to extreme weather conditions.

The relatives had on Friday said that the bodies of the four deceased would not be brought back to India.

“The entire family is in deep shock….As of now, we all have decided not to bring the bodies here for cremation. Last rites will be conducted in Canada itself,” Jaswant Patel, a cousin of Jagdish Patel, had said.

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