Stranded nurses in Iraq: Jayalalithaa, Oommen Chandy seek PM’s intervention

As many as 46 Indian nurses, including six from Tamil Nadu are stranded in Iraq.

By: Press Trust of India | Chennai/thiruvananthapuram | Published: June 19, 2014 8:01:13 pm
Most of the nurses are from Kerala. (Source: PTI) Most of the nurses are from Kerala. (Source: PTI)

As 46 Indian nurses, including six from Tamil Nadu, are stranded in a hospital in strife-torn Iraq, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to personally intervene in the issue and ensure their safe return home.

In a letter to Modi, she said “these nurses are innocent bystanders, rendering valuable service to the health system of Iraq. India and the international  community at large are duty- bound to ensure their safety and to provide them a safe passage back to their homeland.”

The nurses’ families were extremely anxious about their safety, she said.

“I would be grateful if you could kindly intervene personally and take up the matter at the highest level in Iraq and with other international agencies
including the United Nations and the Red Crescent to secure the safety and security of the Indian nurses, including the six from Tamil Nadu, and arrange for  their safe passage back to India,” she added.

Fortysix Indian nurses, including six from Tamil Nadu — Sini, Sili, Simi, Aleena, Neethu and Maneetha of the Nilgris, working in General Hospital at
Tikrit in Iraq were stranded in the ongoing conflict in that country.

Meanwhile, Kerala government also asked Prime Minister to take steps to evacuate Indian nurses stranded in war-torn Iraq if necessary by arranging
a special chartered Air India flight.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, in a letter to the PM, pointed out that 46 Indian nurses, mostly from Kerala, were stranded in the General Hospital in Tikrit.

“They are forced to work with less wages and limited food,” he said. They should be brought back at government’s expense, he said adding “if necessary a special Air India flight may be arranged to bring them back”.

The hospital authorities in Tikrit were demanding heavy cash compensation from the nurses who want to return to India, he said. “They are unable to pay it,” Chandy said.

The Indian Embassy may be directed to contact the hospital management and resolve the issue. The help and intervention of UN and Red Cross also must  be sought, he added.

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