Shashi Tharoor writes to S Jaishankar, seeks evacuation of the beached fishermen from Kerala from Iran

NEW DELHI: Main leader of the Congress Shashi tharoor on Sunday he urged the foreign minister to take urgent action on the issue of fishermen stranded in I ran following the coronavirus and explore all channels with I ran ian authorities for their evacuation. In a letter to Jaishankar, he said certain fishermen groups from India, including many from his Lok sabha circumscription of Thiruvananthapuram , are currently stranded in I ran following the outbreak of coronavirus in the region.

These are fishermen who have legally guaranteed work permits and have been hired by local fishing companies to work in the country, Tharoor said.

"Based on information, I have received from concerned family members of the affected fishermen as well as the SOS video that has been posted by this group on social media, it appears that around 30 fishermen from Kerala, including those belonging to the fishing hamlets of Poonthura, Vizhinjam, Kovalam and Pozhiyoor in my constituency, are currently stranded in I ran and are confined to their rooms with limited access to food and water," he said in the letter.

Some reports have suggested that up to 23 people are forced to live in a single room, said the Congressman.

"This is a situation that developed overnight as part of the larger quarantine and containment measures being implemented by the I ran ian administration to contain the outbreak of Covid-19 (Novel Coronavirus) in the country," he said.

While the urgent need to contain this outbreak can be appreciated, the plight of our fishermen deserves immediate attention since it seems they are running out of critical supplies, Tharoor said.

It is imperative that the Indian government use all available communication channels and establish contact with the affected group and work to ensure that critical services such as food and water are available to them without further delay, he said.

"Given the uncertainty surrounding the spread of this epidemic, I would like to urge our government to explore all channels with their I ran ian counterparts towards the goal of evacuating these affected groups, as you did so effectively for our compatriots in China, and reuniting them with their family members," he said.

Kerala chief minister has also appealed to Jaishankar to take necessary steps and arrange for safe return of hundreds of fishermen, including Keralites, trapped in I ran following coronavirus scare.

In a letter to Jaishankar, he said the state government has received information that more than hundred people, including around 60 from Kerala, were trapped in Azalur in I ran .

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 Covid-19.