Stranded Kashmiris in Dubai demand direct flight to Srinagar

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Srinagar: Hundreds of Kashmiris stranded in Dubai and other emirates of the United Arab Emirates have urged Indian authorities to arrange direct flights from Dubai to Srinagar for their smooth return to Kashmir.

Shakeel Ahmad, a representative of stranded Kashmiris, appealed Indian authorities to ensure their return to Kashmir without any further delay. According to one estimate, there are 550 Kashmiris stranded in the UAE except those who have resident visa and they include elderly, kids, pregnant women and other patients suffering from different ailments, reported Kashmir Observer.

“All stranded Kashmiris are in distress as their repeated pleas didn’t yield any positive response so far,” he said.

As per Ahmad, they have been informed by the Indian Consulate in Dubai they travel will be facilitated only up to New Delhi. “We fear that incoming Kashmiris will be quarantined in an ‘unfavourable’ atmosphere there and that would be beyond the patience of elders and pregnant women. Moreover the high temperatures in Delhi are an additional problem for many.”

Ahmad further added that they assured the officials at the Indian Consulate that stranded Kashmiri’s should be airlifted directly to Srinagar after which they will voluntarily put themselves before authorities for medical formalities.

Another stranded Kashmiri, Amir Rafiq, said that he had arrived in Dubai on 19 January as a tourist but got stuck because of the lockdown. “Before few days I registered myself for the evacuation under ‘Vande Mission Bharat’ but Indian Consulate in Dubai informed me through telephone that I can’t be evacuated because there was no flight for Jammu and Kashmir,” Rafiq said. “I was advised to contact J-K administration instead.”

When contacted Baseer Ahmad Khan, Advisor to Lt Governor said he will take up the issue with administration and try utmost to ease out hardships faced by Kashmiri’s stranded in the UAE.

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