Amid Coronavirus pandemic spreading across the world, leaving many stranded at distant lands far away from their homes, the Delhi High Court on Friday, asked the central government to explain steps taken by it to evacuate around 580 Indian medical students who are stranded in Bangladesh due to the coronavirus pandemic.Most of these students are residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
The HC bench comprising of justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh issued notice to the Ministry of External Affairs and Home Ministry, in a hearing conducted through video conferencing and sought their responses to a plea seeking safe return of Indians stuck in Bangladesh.
The court has listed the matter for further hearing on March 30.
Jasmmet Singh, the standing council of the Centre represented the Foreign Ministry and Home Ministry.
Petitioners’ advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal sought direction to the authorities to forthwith take steps for safe and secure return of Indian citizens who are stuck in Bangladesh.
The plea further sought direction to the authorities to appoint nodal officers in the Indian embassies and make contact number and email of these nodal officers public so that the Indians who are stranded abroad can contact them and seek help in the time of the global health emergency.
The plea also mentioned that the MEA be directed to formulate guidelines for a time-bound action by the nodal officers so that Indians can feel safe during this time.
The lawyer said he has been receiving numerous calls from the Indian students who are studying in Bangladesh and stuck in their hostels and do not have masks and sanitisers.
The students told the lawyers that their mess is closed and they are left with a few snacks which may last only for a week and there are no facilities by which they can prevent them from getting infected.
“As there is complete lockdown now so we would not even get any supplies. You have also closed doors for us. Please help us to reach back home. Even if we die, we would like to die in front of our parents,” a student wrote in an email sent to Bansal.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, India reports 17 deaths and total 724 positive cases. Meanwhile, the global death toll crosses 24,000. Due to the nationwide lockdown , on March 23, the Government, in an unprecedented measure to check the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus disease, had announced that the operations of domestic scheduled commercial airlines will cease with effect from March 24 till March 31.
Yesterday, the DGCA had announced that all scheduled international commercial passenger services will remain closed till 1830 hrs of April 14, 2020.
In several evacuations so far, India had brought backthousands of Indians from foreign shores. Earlier, India had evacuated mostly medical students from China’s Wuhan, the epi-centre of Coronavirus. Another group of 277 people were evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Iran arrived at the Jodhpur airport in Rajasthan, on Wednesday morning. The fourth batch of 53 Indians returned to India from Iran on March 16 taking the total number of people evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Islamic nation to 616.