Stranded Indians say one flight insufficient; want clarity

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 02:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The stranded Indian nationals in Sri Lanka said the scheduled Air Indian flight on 29 May will not be sufficient to repatriate over 2,000 Indians and called for more clarity on the evacuation mission.

“After much appeal, yesterday the High Commission of India in Colombo has announced that a special flight to repatriate Indians in Sri Lanka is scheduled on 29 May. We need more than one flight to airlift over 2,000 India nationals in Colombo,” they told the Daily FT.

The Daily FT learns that there are over 2,000 Indian nationals including around 800 tourists and migrant workers stranded in Colombo for over two months due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Sri Lanka is the closest to India, but our Government overlooked us. They are still sending just one plane to take a few. After two months of lockdown in Colombo, we have run into financial difficulties and some are emotionally drained,” they claimed.

They also said the attempts to meet with the officials of High Commission on Monday to appeal to return home was futile, as some of the Indian nationals were detained by the Police outside the High Commission in Colombo.

“It seems that the officials knew we were planning to come on Monday and deployed more Police officers outside the High Commission in Colombo and some of our colleagues were detained and questioned by the Kollupitiya Police and later released. Some of the colleagues came to the High Commission from as far as Negombo to get a definitive date to go back home and all of them also had curfew passes,” they stressed. They also said there are speculations that the Indian Government is now arranging a ferry ship from Chennai to Colombo to repatriate the stranded Indian nationals.  

The spokesperson for Indian High Commission couldn’t be reached for comment.