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Rising cases of suicide among international students in Canada, number of dead bodies sent to India increased

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Toronto: A Toronto crematorium says a rise in international student deaths highlights the issue of mental health challenges facing young people and is of grave concern. According to the Etobicoke, Toronto-based Lotus Funeral and Cremation Centre, there has been an increase in the number of young bodies being sent to India and the center believes some of these deaths are the result of suicides.

Lotus Funerals has been repatriating remains/bodies of Indian nationals from across Canada for many years at the request of the Consulate General of India or other members of the community. There were a maximum of two cases a month involving both students and work permit holders. But this number has more than doubled since last year. Now every month the dead bodies of about 4 to 5 people are sent back to India. Some months even 7 were sent. Annual statistics of bodies sent to India, most of which were young.

Employees of the crematorium say they sometimes get bothered by the marks on the body. Kamal Bhardwaj said that many times there is a mark of noose around the neck of the dead body, which makes it seem that the deceased must have committed suicide. Although other incidents can lead to strangulation, funeral home workers say many other cases show signs of drowning or drug overdose, which can also be a sign of suicide.

Funeral home workers could not reveal the exact cause of death for privacy reasons, but told CBC News that only one or two deaths per month among students and other young Indians are from natural causes. The remaining deaths are due to road accidents, suicides, drug overdoses or other causes.

Students and advocates say they are deeply concerned about the mental health of international students and rising rates of suicide. He said that the number of international students coming from India is increasing in Canada, so this issue needs special attention and action.