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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

MEA to Delhi HC: Not possible to organise evacuation of Indian abroad due to lockdown

The MEA said, "In such a lockdown situation both in Indian as well as in Bangladesh, it is not possible for this Ministry to organize any evacuation of Indian nationals from Bangladesh or any other countries."

Written by Pritam Pal Singh | New Delhi | Published: April 4, 2020 7:24:22 am
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The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday informed the Delhi High Court that in a “lockdown situation”, it is “not possible for this Ministry to organise any evacuation of Indian nationals from Bangladesh or any other countries”.

The Ministry’s response came in the backdrop of a PIL by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, who has sought direction to the MEA to evacuate Indian medical students stranded in Bangladesh.

The MEA, in an affidavit before a bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva and Justice Navin Chawla, said, “The severe risk posed by arrivals from an increasing number of countries affected by COVID-19 is something that the government is seeking to minimize. Indian Missions abroad have been asked to extend help and facilitation to stranded Indian nationals to the extent possible.

“The measures taken by the Government of India (GOI) to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has progressively increased since late January 2020 culminating in the total lockdown announced by the government on March 23.

“This includes stoppage of all international movements (came into effect earlier) and domestic as well as intra-city movements except in case of essential services. In addition, the government of Bangladesh has also announced lockdown from March 26 till April 4, thereby restricting any movements within and out of Bangladesh for the time being,” the affidavit said.

It said, “In such a lockdown situation both in Indian as well as in Bangladesh, it is not possible for this Ministry to organize any evacuation of Indian nationals from Bangladesh or any other countries.

“The approach of this Ministry has, therefore, been to advise the Indian nationals to stay put where they are in line with Government of India’s approach to contain the spread of the virus within Indian and allowing health machinery to focus domestic containment”.

Central government Standing Counsel Jasmeet Singh apprised the bench that “a COVID-19 cell has been formed in the MEA and to ensure greater access and precision of information, sub-groups dealing with different regions of the world has also been created.”

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