Nepal on Friday accepted its 26 Tablighi Jamaat members stuck in Uttar Pradesh's Bahraich district due to the coronavirus lockdown, agreeing to the suggestion from Indian authorities after two days of persuasion, officials said.
During this period, 2,738 Nepalese stranded in UP went back to their country through the Rupaidiha border while 2,811 Indians in Nepal also crossed over through it, they said.
But the Nepal authorities insisted they could not allow the Tablighi Jamaat members through this border because they did not belong to Nepal's districts adjacent to the Rupaidiha border, they added.
They had been asking Indian authorities to repatriate them through other stretches of borders adjacent to their respective districts, said Indian officials.
Bahraich Superintendent of Police Vipin Mishra said Nepalese authorities had been refusing to take back these 26 Tablighi Jamaat members primarily because they had participated in a religious meet at Nizamuddin in New Delhi in March, attended by nationals of many other countries, who were later found coronavirus positive, they said.
They were sent today. They were being denied access earlier primarily because of their participation in the Delhi markaz, SP Mishra told PTI.
Over 2,700 Nepalese nationals who were allowed access to their country through the Rupaidiha border during the last two days belonged to Nepal's districts like Bankey, Dang, Bardiya and Rukum adjacent to that stretch of the international border, the SP said.
The Tablighi Jamaat members too had been insisting upon the authorities of the two countries that they hail from Bankey district in Nepal across the Rupaidiha border itself, the SP said.
The matter, however, was sorted out at higher level and the Nepal authorities eventually accepted these Tablighi Jamaat members as well, the SP said.
The SP also said the Nepalese officials of the bordering districts are not cooperating during this hour of crisis and are not willingly taking back their citizens, stranded in India.
They also do not respond to phone calls or WhatsApp messages, he said, adding that for contact them, we have to send our SHOs and this is delaying the exchange of people stranded on both sides of the border.
During Wednesday and Thursday, India and Nepal exchanged over 5,500 of their nationals stuck in the two countries amid the COVID-19 lockdown through the Rupaidiha border, he said.
Prior to that, 1,800 citizens were exchanged including 1,074 Indians and 723 Nepalese.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)