Over 500 Indians evacuated from Libya

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New Delhi, Feb 27 (ANI): Over 500 Indian nationals have been evacuated from Libya in two fights specially arranged by Air India, after an anti- government uprising put their lives at risk.

The first flight, a Boeing 747, carrying 291 Indian nationals, arrived here around Saturday midnight.

The second flight arrived with 237 evacuated passengers, who were picked from the Libyan capital Tripoli, in an Airbus A330 at 4.10 a.m. today. inister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao were present at Terminal Two of the Indira Gandhi International airport to receive the evacuated Indians.

Ahmed termed the evacuation of the Indian nationals as 'Operation Safe Home Coming' and also said that all arrangements had been made for the returning Indians to go back to their native places at government cost.

Food as well as telephone facilities have been arranged for them so that they can contact their families.

Counters have also been set up to arrange rail and air tickets for them while officials from at least 12 states' resident commissioner's offices will be present for any further help they may need.

While interacting with the media Mobin Qureshi a branch manager in a construction company in Tripoli, who returned in the first flight, said that the workers' lives in Libya are under threat as protesters have torched their camps.

" There are a lot of Indians stuck in Libya at the moment and they are surviving without food for the last 4-5 days. Libyan protestors have burnt down camps of the companies where the Indian workers are employed and they are living without food, shelter and clothes. They are in a very bad condition," he said.

Sajan Lal, a doctor, from Hyderabad, who was also evacuated, said that Indians who live in remote places of Libya are facing a grim situation and they should be evacuated immediately as they are running out of food and drinking water and are also facing communication problems.

The government has arranged for two flights to be dispatched daily till March 7 to bring back the stranded Indians from Libya where a revolt against the Muammar Gaddafi government has turned violent and claimed over 1,000 lives so far.

In addition to this three specially equipped naval vessels are scheduled to reach there in ten days.

Passenger ship M V Scotia Prince, which was on its way to Toothukudi from Greece had been diverted to Libya to rescue the 18000 Indians. (ANI)

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