Coronavirus: Center tells HC that it cannot evacuate Indians stranded abroad, taking measures for their safety

NEW DELHI: On Friday they told the Delhi superior court that it cannot evacuate Indians abroad due to the shutdown to contain the spread of the pandemic, but that it was taking proactive measures for their safety and well-being.

The Center's council told a bank of judges Sanjeev Sachdeva and, who conducted the hearing via video conference, that a group of high-level ministers had been formed to review the current status and actions for prevention and management of Covid -19 notices are issued from time to time.

The central government's permanent lawyer, Jasmeet Singh, said that a large number of Indian students study abroad and that the missions are in constant contact with their universities or educational institutions to assist them.

In the current closure situation, it is not possible for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organize the evacuation of Indian citizens from Bangladesh or from any other country, however, all possible help and assistance is provided to all Indian citizens, he said.

“A Covid-19 cell has been formed to guarantee greater access and accuracy of the information. Subgroups dealing with different regions of the world have also been created. Missions/Posts abroad have been advised to set up dedicated helpline numbers and be widely publicized to help stranded Indians ...

Nodal officers have been identified and appointed at each Mission/Post to assist Indian citizens abroad and a 24x7 helpline number and email have been made functional for that purpose and the helpline numbers and The email identifications have been widely published through social networking sites, official government websites for Indians abroad to obtain information about it, he said.

The Center, in an affidavit filed with the court, said that since the Covid-19 outbreak, the government has taken proactive steps to ensure the safety, well-being and well-being of Indian citizens abroad, as well as their people in India.

After carefully reading the Center's affidavit and status report, the bank said it was of the opinion that no further orders are required on the petition filed by lawyer Gaurav Kumar Bansal seeking instructions for authorities to take action to Rest assured about 500 Indian medical students who are trapped in Bangladesh.

The lawyer said that the majority of the students are Jammu residents.

The court removed the petition and gave the petitioner freedom to address it should the need arise in the future.

The Center further said that the Ambassadors are interacting with the Indian community through virtual platforms for their engagement in times of crisis and to provide assistance.

He said that Indian citizens and communities are mobilizing to help other endangered Indians in their country and, wherever possible, the Missions are providing food and shelter to stranded citizens.

Regarding the steps taken by the Mission in Bangladesh, the government said it established a 24x7 helpline on March 15 to respond to inquiries from Indians and that regular information is shared through the website and social media.

He said that since the educational institutions closed in Bangladesh, all local students have gone home and only foreign students, including Indians, have remained there and the High Commission has contacted the authorities concerned in the schools to keep mess halls/clutter running and make resources available to ensure student well-being.

“There are said to be 114 medical schools in Bangladesh and around 6,000 Indian students study in these schools and approximately 500 Indian students have stayed in Bangladesh. Regarding this situation, it is stated that since most medical universities are attached to hospitals. In the event of any emergency, these hospitals are better equipped to deal with the situation, he said.

Regarding disinfectants, the government said it was available with universities and in markets and that universities in Bangladesh are trying to provide basic facilities to all students in shelters.

Regarding food facilities, the government informed the court that most of the students are using disorder facilities and some of them, of their own free will, have started managing their own disorder due to social distancing.

The court was informed that the designated nodal officer in Bangladesh contacted a student from each of the medical schools according to the list provided by the petitioner and assured them of cooperation.

The court had previously asked the Center to explain the steps taken to evacuate the stranded Indian students in Bangladesh.

The court also removed another request by a man seeking instructions for the Center to evacuate his son from Edinburgh, Scotland and to ensure that he is provided with all medical facilities, if necessary.

The man said in his plea that in accordance with the consolidated travel notice issued by the Center, his son was unable to return to India.

The court said that in view of the status report submitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through a permanent lawyer from the central government, and the assurance given that all necessary help will be provided to all stranded Indian students Abroad, no further orders were required to be approved on the petition.