Kerala CM seeks MEA help to bring back stranded Indian fishermen from Iran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Prime Minister on Sunday appealed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs to take the necessary measures and organize the safe return of hundreds of fishermen, including Keralites, trapped in Iran after the scare of the coronavirus.

In a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, he said the state government received information that more than one hundred people, including about 60 from Kerala, were trapped in Azalur in Iran.

When they were contacted by state government officials, the people trapped in Azalur declared that there are more than one hundred people reported to be around 60 from Kerala, Vijayan said in the letter.

He said it was learned that they could not return to India due to the spread of COVIT19.

... I ask you to order the officials of the (Indian) Embassy (in Iran) to take the necessary measures and take care of the safe return of these people, Vijayan wrote.

Earlier, Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma had said that the state government will take all necessary measures to bring fishermen from the beached state in Iran.

She said the state government will collect details of Keralites trapped in Iran and coordinate with the Indian embassy there through NoRKA (Department of Non-Resident Keralite Affairs).

A video of the fishermen of Kerala was sent for help to the families of the fishermen and the state media.

One of them is heard saying in the video that they could not leave their rooms due to restrictions imposed by the Iranian government due to the scare of the coronavirus.

Like us, many people in India are stranded here. We lack food. We try to contact our sponsor. But he asked us to communicate with government authorities, the man said.

The fishermen were in Iran, working for a fishing company during the last months.

Most of the keralites are from the Pozhiyur and Vizhinjam areas in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Tamil Nadu government had addressed the Center on Friday the issue of more than 300 fishermen stranded from the state in Iran and sought measures for immediate evacuation.

According to Prime Minister K Palaniswami, about 450 Indians, including fishermen from Tamil Nadu, worked on several docked fishing vessels and operated in Iranian ports.