Scores of Indians stranded in Sri Lanka for the last 50 days, since the nationwide lockdown was imposed, have started losing their patience, and some of them have even threatened to end their lives unless they are evacuated immediately.
“Nothing concrete is happening… I am feeling so helpless, I feel like committing suicide,” tweeted Mahesh Basudkar, a resident of Pimpri-Chinchwad who had gone to Sri Lanka on a tourist visa and has been stranded there since the lockdown started.
He has tagged the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of External Affairs, and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on his tweet. Basudkar has also tagged them on several tweets in the last 50 days, trying to convey the desperation of those stranded in Sri Lanka to return home. “But other than phrases like ‘evacuation will happen’, we have heard nothing concrete from the Indian government,” he said.
Shitesh Chaurasia, another tourist in Colombo, tweeted, “It’s been two months of misery, yet there is no word from the government regarding our evacuation. The embassy here has been so unresponsive.”
In another tweet, he stated, “My life is in disarray. I have no savings left. My two-month-old child is waiting for me. I am desperate to go home.:
“Like me, there are several Indians who are in a state of shock. We do not know what to do, where to go, whom to approach…We are all frustrated, some of them have tweeted about taking the extreme step. Will the government wake up only when someone dies…,” Basudkar told The Indian Express.
According to a PTI report, there are over 2,400 Indians stranded in Sri Lanka due to the lockdown. Nearly 200 of them are from Maharashtra. “We have tweeted to all top leaders from Maharashtra including the CM, Sharad Pawar, Prithviraj Chavan, Supriya Sule and Aaditya Thackeray, but nothing has happened. Nobody has even tried to contact us, reply to us or provide some kind of relief with their words,” he said.
“We are constantly in touch with the Indian Embassy, but they have a stock reply… that evacuation will happen, but we want to know when,” Basudkar said.
He said though the government has launched a mission to evacuate Indians living abroad, Sri Lanka was not on the list of countries from where Indians are being evacuated. “… We have been told by embassy officials that in the second list too, Lanka’s name is not there. Sri Lanka is India’s next door neighbour. If not by flight, we can return home by any ship. Is it so difficult for the government,” he asked.