Wednesday 15 April 2020 1:48 AM UTC
NEW DELHI April 15: The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned for four weeks a batch of petitions seeking repatriation of Indians stranded in various foreign countries and observed that people should stay where they are amid this pandemic since it may not be possible to bring back all Indians at the moment.
Keralites form a huge number of the Indians living abroad — particularly in the US, Europe and West Asia — and there has been widespread calls to evacuate them.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, however, said the state has sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting the Centre to arrange aircraft to bring back the Indians stranded in foreign countries.
He said if the Central government carry out evacuation, Kerala will do testing of all those who come to the state and quarantine them.
“Various people including those who went abroad on visit visas and for short-time programmes are finding it difficult to stay there due to absence of an income.
So, the state has requested the prime minister to bring them home and also those who wish to come home for emergency purposes,” Pinarayi said.“Our request is to bring them home complying with all international health protocols.
The state government will also arrange all security measures in connection with the homecoming of pravasis,” he said.
Pinarayi added that the state has also asked the Centre to prepare a package to rehabilitate those Indians who come back after losing their jobs.
Earlier in the day, the SC bench said “People should stay where they’re right now.”The remark was made by the court while hearing a petition for repatriation of a UK-based student who, according to the Centre’s affidavit, is now safe.
A separate petition for evacuation of vulnerable Indian citizens from the USA which has emerged as the new hotspot of the contagion was also heard on which the court has asked the Centre to file its response.
Meanwhile, the NRK issue took a political turn with Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel criticising Kozhikode MP M K Raghavan for approaching the court seeking a directive for bringing back the stranded Indians in West Asian countries.
“It was a step taken without understanding the situation clearly. The state government has been dealing with the issue. In situations like this, the Centre should be approached first. Now the doors are shut for four weeks and we’re forced to wait,” said Jaleel.
The Centre in its affidavit made it clear that since visa extensions are being granted amid the pandemic the world over, bringing back Indians right now would not be possible.
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