Ensure safety of Indians stranded abroad due to COVID-19: J&K HC tells MEA

Jammu, Mar 31 (PTI) The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the Ministry of External Affairs to look into the various aspects of evacuation of Indians who are stranded abroad due to COVID-19 pandemic and need to be evacuated to India.

In a hearing conducted through video conferencing on Monday, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal directed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to look into the difficulties being faced by Indian nationals in the USA and to ensure that their essential needs are provided for.

Hearing a plea on behalf of an Indian student in New York alleging that the Consulate of India at New York was not assisting the Indian citizens stranded in the United States, the court said, 'A direction is issued to the Secretary, MEA, to look into the matter of the difficulties being faced by the Indian nationals in the USA and to ensure that their essential needs are provided for.

'Let the Ministry of External Affairs look into the aspect of the evacuation of persons who are stranded and need to be evacuated to India. We would expect that these issues would be addressed on priority by the ministry and appropriate steps are required to be taken in the prevailing situation at the earliest.

'In the meantime, let the Indian Consulate assure every assistance to the Indian nationals who are stranded abroad,' Justice Mittal and Justice Sindhu Sharma said in its 11-page order.

The high court was hearing a public interest litigation adopted suo motto by the court which appointed Monika Kohli as amicus curiae, who was asked to assist the court on issues relating to the COVID-19 virus with regard to the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh.

PTI SKL SRY