Over 250 Kashmiri students stranded in Rajasthan, families demand evacuation

Parents of students stranded in Rajasthan, protesting in Srinagar on Saturday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
Parents of students stranded in Rajasthan, protesting in Srinagar on Saturday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Suhail Bhat
SRINAGAR, Apr 4: Kashmiri students who were evacuated from Iran last month and completed 14-day mandatory quarantine at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan are stranded in the quarantine centre due to lockdown and they have demanded their immediate evacuation.
The family members of the stranded students assembled at the Press Enclave here and demanded Government to quickly evacuate them. They asked when the administration allowed other students to walk home why is it delaying the evacuation of their children despite completion of their quarantine period. In last couple of days over 600- students were sent home from different facilities here after completion of their mandatory 14-day quarantine.

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Nearly 276 are stuck in a quarantine Centre in Jaisalmer Rajasthan even after completion of the necessary 14-day quarantine. These students are studying medicine in different universities and colleges in Iran and were evacuated from Tehran on March 14 and March 15.
The worried parents today made frantic appeals to J&K administration and Central Government to take immediate steps to facilitate the return of their children. “We request both Central and local administration to evacuate them because they can’t withstand the hot weather conditions there. Let the local administration decide whether they need to be put in further quarantine. We are even ready to pay to bear their travel expenses,” Shabir Hussain, a parent said.
The parents said that they had been longing to see their children for a long time and Government’s indifference towards the issue is only increasing their pain. These children were first stuck in Iran for 25 day and they tested negative and were evacuated. They were again tested thereafter the quarantine period and that also came negative,” another parent, Kifayat Hussain said.
In March the External Affairs Minister, S Jai Shankar, had, in a surprise visit to Srinagar interacted with the families of the Kashmiri students and pilgrims in Iran.
Meanwhile, the parents alleged that the local administration has given up on the issues and its assurance has turned out to be hollow.
It may be mentioned here that 14 Kashmiri students, mostly girls, who have completed two weeks mandatory quarantine are stranded in Amritsar as government of Jammu and Kashmir has refused to allow their entry into the Union Territory.
These students who are pursuing their education in various medical colleges of Pakistan crossed the Waga border on March 18 and were sent to 14 day quarantine by the Punjab Government.