The government has decided to cancel the Overseas Citizenship of India cards held by the adoptive parents of three-year-old Sherin Mathews, who was found dead in the United States city of Dallas in October 2017. The cards held by some of their relatives and friends will also be revoked, Consul General of India in Houston Anupam Ray told PTI on Saturday.

In January, the girl’s father Wesley Mathews was charged with capital murder and his wife, Sini Mathews, with child abandonment. Ray said the Indian government has decided to revoke the OCI cards of the jailed couple because public opinion in the country was against allowing them to travel to India.

“India has not forgotten this little child and in public interest, the consulate will recommend their names for insertion in the ‘Blacklist’ maintained by the Government of India at the earliest,” Ray said.

Manoj N Abraham and Nissy T Abraham, friends of the Mathews family, have already received a notice of cancellation of their OCI cards. Ray said the consulate discovered that “Manoj Abraham and Nissy T Abraham have been in close contact with the adoptive parents of Sherin Mathews before, during and after the murder”. “We would have found out more about the circumstances of this heartless murder if Abraham had cooperated in providing information,” he said.

The duo have challenged the notice in the Delhi High Court. “The case is developing in Delhi, but our position on providing visa is unchanged,” said Ray.

The case

The couple had reported Sherin Mathews missing on October 7, 2017, less than a year after they adopted her from India. They had then claimed that she went missing after Wesley Mathews made her stand in the backyard of their house at 3 am as punishment for not drinking her milk. After authorities found her body less than a mile from their house two weeks later, Wesley Mathews admitted to the police that he had moved her body, but claimed Sherin had died choking on milk in the family’s garage.

Early in January, the Dallas County medical examiner had found that Sherin Mathews had died from homicidal violence, which led prosecutors to adding murder charges against the father.