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Kerala CM seeks MEA help to bring back stranded Indian


Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 01: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday appealed to the External Affairs Minister to take necessary steps and arrange for safe return of hundreds of fishermen, including Keralites, trapped in Iran following coronavirus scare.

Pinarayi Vijayan

In a letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, he said the state government has received information that more than hundred people, including around 60 from Kerala, were trapped in Azalur in Iran.

'When contacted by state government officials, it has been stated by the persons trapped in Azalur that more than hundred persons are there out of which around 60 are reported to be from Kerala,' Vijayan said in the letter.

He said it was learnt that they were unable to return to India on account of the COVIT19 spread.

'...I request you to direct the (Indian) Embassy officials (in Iran) to take necessary steps and arrange for the safe return of these persons,' Vijayan wrote.

Earlier, the Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma had said the state government will take all necessary steps to bring fishermen from the state stranded in Iran.

She said the state government will collect details of Keralites trapped in Iran and coordinate with the Indian embassy there through NoRKA (Department of Non-Resident Keralite Affairs).

A video of the Kerala fishermen seeking help was forwarded to the families of the fishermen and media houses in the state.

One of them is heard saying in the video that they were unable to move out of their rooms due to the restrictions imposed by the Iran government due to the coronavirus scare.

'Like us many people are from India are stranded here.

We are short of food. We tried to contact our sponsor. But he asked us to contact the government authorities,' the man said.

The fishermen were in Iran, working for a fishing company for last many months.

Most of the Keralites are from Pozhiyur and Vizhinjam areas in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Tamil Nadu government had on Friday taken up with the Centre the issue of over 300 stranded fishermen from the state in Iran and sought steps for their immediate evacuation.

According to Chief Minister K Palaniswami, 450-odd Indians including fishermen from Tamil Nadu were working in various fishing vessels berthed and operating in Iranian ports.

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