After month-long quarantine in Rajasthan, first batch of Kashmiri students return home

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Srinagar: The first batch of fifty-two students, who were airlifted from Iran and were put under quarantine in an army facility at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, are expected to arrive in Srinagar today, officials said.

The students are being brought to Srinagar in batches. “A first batch of fifty-two students will reach Srinagar today later in the day,” the official said. “The process will continue till all students are brought back in batches.”

At least 276 students from Kashmir, who were studying in Iran, and were evacuated during the outbreak of COVID-19 were kept in quarantine facility at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Most of these students were pursuing MBBS and other courses in Iran, one of the worst hit countries by COVID-19.

Those students carrying certificate of being negative for COVID-19, will be allowed to stay in home quarantine, said the official, and those who won’t be having it, will have to stay in government quarantine facility in Srinagar.

It may be recalled that the demand for evacuation of Kashmiri children studying in Iran had forced Union Minister for External Affairs Minister S Jaishanker to fly to Srinagar to meet parents of children on 9 March at SKICC, Srinagar. The Minister had assured the parents in stress that their children would be evacuated from Iran, where hundreds have died due to the virus so far.

Shabir Hussain, whose daughter is at the Jaisalmer army facility for the past almost a month alleged that after taking up the issue with the divisional commissioner Kashmir recently, they were annoyed to see the “cold response of the administration?”

However, sources said that Lieutenant Governor Girish Chander Murmu’s advisor Baseer Ahmed Khan took up the matter with the concerned quarters in both New Delhi and Jaisalmer, following which it was decided that the students stuck in Jaisalmer will be brought back in batches from 15 April onwards.

“The J-K government must ensure all the students kept in army facility at Jaisalmer are brought back to Srinagar. If they are supposed to be in quarantine, we assure that there will be no opposition from our side,” he said. “It has been more than a month since these students were lodged in the army facility at Jaisalmer.” (KNO)

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