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'She was a great dancer, bubbly and full of energy'

FRIENDS of Praveen Halappanavar packed up mementos and images of his young wife Savita from the couple's home to spare him the painful memories when he returns to Galway.

Close friends gathered up the young woman's belongings, sending some back to her parents in India and packaging up the rest to be sent back to Belgaum at a later date.

"We did not want Praveen to have to deal with the pain when he gets back. It would be too much for him. We took away anything that would remind him too much of Savita.

"We sent some pieces to India for her parents, stuff that Savita would have wanted them to have, so they could have a lasting memory of her," said Harsad Holehunnur, a close friend.

Tragic Savita was laid out in her marriage gown at her funeral, Mr Holehunnur said.


The young wife was laid out in the same beautiful sari and jewellery she wore when she married Praveen in 2008.

"Because Savita died as a married woman it was a traditional Hindu custom that she was laid out in her marriage costume. She was laid out in her gown along with all the ornaments she wore on her wedding day," he explained.

The young couple were married in 2008 in Belgaum in a ceremony attended by family and friends. Savita then joined Praveen in Galway, where they began their life together, planning on starting a family and raising them in the city.

Today, members of the Indian community told of how they rallied around Praveen following his wife's death, helping to organise her funeral arrangements and flights home.

"Because they had no family in Ireland, we are their family," explained Mr Holehunnur. When the couple first arrived in Ireland they had lived with Mr Holehunnur until they found a home of their own. Recalling Savita, her friend spoke of her energy, love of dance and outgoing nature.

"She was very energetic. She was a dentist by profession but she was also a great dancer. She was always bubbly and full of energy," he said.

Her heartbroken friends are now backing calls for an independent inquiry into her death.

Members of the Indian community in Galway said such an investigation was vital to assist her family with the many questions they have been left with.

"I think that will help to get the truth out of it. We are not medical experts, we follow the word of doctors but Savita was begging for help. We don't know fully what happened but we need a proper investigation into it," said Mr Holehunnur.

Mr Holehunnur said the outpouring of sympathy from around the country and world was a comfort to Praveen, who will continue to campaign on the issue when he returns.

Friends and neighbours will gather together in Eyre Square on Saturday evening for a candlelit vigil.