‘No Information On Airlifting Stranded Indians In Iran’

New Delhi: Indian Red Cross Society’s Jammu and Kashmir Honorary Secretary, Syed Kifayat Hussain Rizvi, who, along with 32 other Kashmiri pilgrims, is stranded in Iran — one of the worst-affected countries by coronavirus, said they did not get any information on an Indian aircraft flying to Tehran to airlift stranded Indians.

Rizvi, along with two of his family members, is a part of a 33-member Kashmiri pilgrims group that is currently in Qom.

He said they did not get any information about the Indian aircraft landing in Tehran on March 10 at 2 a.m., and taking off with the first sortie of Indian pilgrims at 4 a.m.

India had announced that it was sending an IAF C-17 Globemaster aircraft to Iran on Monday night to evacuate stranded Indians. The aircraft took at around 8 p.m.

He said the Indian embassy officials got the swabs of hundreds of stranded pilgrims collected two days back and sent it to India for testing. Reports are awaited.

Most of the 2,000 pilgrims and students stranded in Teheran and Qom have exhausted their money and medicines.

According to Rizvi, there is “total chaos and confusion and nobody knows who are the pilgrims being airlifted tonight (Monday night)”.

Students have been told by the embassy officials that the first preference would be given to the pilgrims.

Pilgrims, if suspected of infection, would be quarantined at IAF’s Hindon base in Ghaziabad near Delhi before being sent home.

Some of the stranded pilgrims have learned that a group of 33 Ladakhi pilgrims is returning to India at 11.30 p.m. by Mahan airlines’ Tehran-Delhi flight.

Some groups of Sikhs, living and doing business in Iran, have reported reached Delhi via Hong Kong.

Rizvi said the Jammu and Kashmir government should appoint a Liaison Officer to coordinate things between Srinagar and Jammu, New Delhi, Teheran and Qom.

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