Nearly 12,000 Indians still stranded in Libya

Muammar al-Gaddafi
New Delhi, Mar 3: By the end of Mar 3, nearly 7,000 Indians would have been evacuated from strife-torn Libya. An estimated 18,000 Indians were expected to be living in the north-African country before public protests against the Muammar Gaddafi regime broke out.

This is India's biggest evacuation operation since it brought home thousands of Indians during the 1990 Kuwait invasion by Iraq.

On Mar 3, four special Air India flights will be in operation to bring back an estimated 1,188 Indians home. In addition to that the Indian Air Force will also fly a transport plane to Libya to aid the evacuation process.

The External Affairs Ministry of India said, "By the end of today (Mar 2), 6,177 Indian nationals will have been pulled out of Libya. This constitutes just over a third of the estimated 18,000 Indian nationals in Libya."

In response to the flak received by the government for the slow evacuation process, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao tweeted, "India has chartered ships and aircraft. Please believe me when I say this. I will not comment on the Chinese statistics..."

Private Airlines Jet Airways will also operate a Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Delhi to Tripoli, Libya. It has a passenger capacity of 178.

Libya is witnessing deep turmoil after people took to the streets demanding the resignation of the 41-year old Muammar Gaddafi regime. The protests, inspired by successful revolts of Egypt and Tunisia has turned violent after Gaddafi ordered his supporters and armed forces to forcefully handle the protesters.

Nearly 2,000 are feared dead till now.

OneIndia News

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