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Coronavirus: Indians in foreign countries won't face any problem, Centre assures HC


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Centre informed the Delhi High Court Monday that its nodal officers are making efforts to ensure no Indian citizen faces any problem in any country due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A bench of Justices Sanjeev Sachdeva and Navin Chawla was informed by the Centre's counsel that he has received instructions from the Ministry of External Affairs indicating that all medical colleges in Bangladesh where Indian students are staying have been requested to open at least one mess facility to provide food.
Central government standing counsel Jasmeet Singh submitted that efforts have been made to provide appropriate medical and other assistance, if required, by citizens of India in Bangladesh.
For this purpose, a list of nodal officers has already been uploaded on the website and they can be contacted in case of any difficulty, he said.
The court was hearing a petition by petitioner advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal seeking direction to the authorities to forthwith take steps for safe and secure return on Indian citizens who are stuck in Bangladesh. The advocate said most of the students are residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
The petitioner submitted that he will provide the contact details of at least one student of each of the medical college where they are facing difficulty to the government's counsel.
During the hearing, conducted through video conferencing in view of the lockdown due to the virus, the court inquired from Bansal as to how he is in touch with the Indian students in Bangladesh.
He replied that he was communicating with them through Twitter and WhatsApp accounts.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on April 3 and asked the Centre to file a status report or give e-mail id of the concerned officer.
The court, on March 27, had asked the Centre to explain the steps taken by it to evacuate the Indian students stranded in Bangladesh.
The court had issued notices to the Ministries of External Affairs and Home Affairs.
The plea has also sought direction to the authorities to appoint nodal officers in the Indian Embassies and make contact number and e-mail of these nodal officers public so that the Indians who are stranded abroad can contact them and seek help in the time of the global health emergency.
The plea further said that the MEA be directed to formulate guidelines for time bound action by the nodal officers so that Indians can feel safe during this time.
The lawyer said he has been receiving numerous calls from the Indian students who are studying in Bangladesh and stuck in their hostels and do not have masks and sanitisers.
The students told the lawyers that their mess was closed and they have left with few snacks which may last only for a week and there are no facilities by which they can prevent them from getting infected.
"As there is complete lock down now so we would not even get any supplies. You have also closed doors for us. Please help us to reach back home. Even if we die, we would like to die in front of our parents," a student wrote in an email sent to Bansal.

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First Published: Mar 30 2020 | 6:54 PM IST

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