Wednesday 15 April 2020 1:41 AM UTC
London, April 15: Over a hundred Indian diaspora organisations here have united to issue an open letter of solidarity with India and urged their compatriots caught up in the current lockdown to show patience to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The 107 organisations, including charities, local temple associations and state-wise representative bodies, lauded the Indian government”s efforts during the outbreak as well as worldwide efforts to save precious lives during the pandemic.
The letter came as Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on Tuesday to further extend the lockdown in India till May 3.
“We would especially like to commend the mammoth efforts of the Indian government and states working under the able leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for the wide ranging and timely measures to address this issue and to alleviate the inevitable hardship that they will endure during this time of lockdown,” the letter stated.
“We salute the citizens of India for their fortitude, patience, disciple, and social consciousness at this testing time. We appeal to you all, sisters and brothers to continue to keep trust, keep strong and follow the continued advice and guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during these testing times,” it added.
The Indian High Commission in London, which has been fielding hundreds of queries on a daily basis from Indian nationals stranded in the UK, also reached out to them with a message of reassurance this week.
“Dear Indians in UK. We are an email or phone call away and committed to find ways to help you while you are in the UK. The Indian diaspora in UK is also making efforts to do so. Have faith, be positive and stay safe,” it said.
Its social media pages were instantly flooded with queries regarding international flights after the Indian government”s lockdown extension announcement on Tuesday.
“There are many students stuck in the UK, including myself, who couldn”t return to India before March 18 and are stuck here. In these trying times, we really want to go home. Please help,” read one plea.
“Can we get a clarity on when the flight operations will resume?” asked another.
There are thousands of Indians stranded in different parts of the UK, with hundreds of students among the worst-hit due to financial and accommodation constraints.
The UK Home Office has confirmed that any foreign students or professionals on visas that had expired or expiring would be given an extension at least until May 31.
Many of the stranded students from different parts of India — including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand — expressed their relief at the visa extension, but they remain concerned about the limited resources at their disposal in the face of mounting accommodation and essentials costs.
Besides, many are exposed to greater risk of contracting COVID-19 due to being crammed into packed hostels with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities during the current lockdown imposed in the UK.
The High Commission urged these Indian nationals to remain calm and follow travel advisories and updates as the lockdown and travel restrictions in India now go into place until May 3. – PTI
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