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March 4, 2020 11:38 pm

HC Seeks Centre’s Response On Evacuating Kashmiri Students From Iran


The parents of Kashmiri students stuck in Iran on Wednesday staged a protest in Srinagar to urge the government to evacuate their children from the coronavirus-hit country. KO Photo: Abid Bhat

JAMMU – Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday sought Centre’s response on a plea filed by a Budgam resident regarding the evacuation of J&K students and other persons from coronavirus hit Iran.

The High Court directed the administrations of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to ensure creation of proper isolation and quarantine facilities besides testing laboratories for prevention of the novel coronavirus disease.

The Coram comprising Chief Justice Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal made Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Secretary Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Secretary Ministry of Civil Aviation, Chief Secretaries and Commissioner Secretaries of Health and Medical Education Departments of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh respectively as party respondents.

According to the directions, the Ministries of External Affairs, Health and Civil Aviation are required through the Indian Embassy in Tehran, Iran and their offices, to ensure availability of the required materials including masks, medication and essential commodities including food etc. to all Indians especially the students, who are stated to be stranded there.

They will further identify the protocol to be followed, examine the mode to forthwith implement the same and take steps for evacuation of the Indian students stranded in Iran.

The High Court directed the administrations of J&K and Ladakh to identify and ensure creation of proper facilities for isolation and quarantine in the Government and private sector, testing laboratories as well as availability of the health care and medication for prevention of the COVID 19 disease and treatment of the persons infected/carrying the infection.

They were further directed to take immediate steps for acquisition of and to ensure availability in sufficient numbers and quantity of N-95 (or any other recommended) masks, for the public and separation kits for all medical personnel and staff.

The High Court directed the respondents to file status report on or before March 12, 2020 which has been listed as the next date of hearing.

Parents Stage Protest, Demand Quick Evacuation

Meanwhile a group of parents of Kashmiri students stuck in Iran on Wednesday staged a protest in Srinagar to urge the government to evacuate their children.

“We want the government to quickly evacuate Kashmiri students enrolled in different educational institutions in Shiraz, Isfhan and Tehran,” said Noor Muhammad whose son is studying medicine in Iran and he said he has no information about him.

He said the government should come up with an evacuation plan for students stuck in Iran on similar lines as was done for those stranded in China after the outbreak of coronavirus.

The internet blockade in Kashmir has added to tihe woes of the parents who are not able to get in touch with their children in Iran.

“The internet blockade has totally ended our contact with our children in Iran, as we can no longer do video chats with them, it is very distressing,” he said.

Voicing similar concerns, Javid Bhat, another parent, said they have no idea about the fate of their children as educational institutions in Iran have closed.

“Our children are stuck in the hostels there and we have no contact with them,” Bhat said.

Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Choudhry in a tweet has urged the Kashmiri students in Iran “to get in touch with the MEA through J&K Resident Commissioner to facilitate return travel”.

The Jammu & Kashmir administration has kept health facilities ready to deal with possible coronavirus cases in the Union Territory. Staff has been mobilised and isolation wards established in the hospitals.

The administration has also deputed medical staff to screen foreigners at Srinagar airport.

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