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Coronavirus impact: Indian fishermen stuck in Iran, urge India for airlift

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 02, 2020

As many as 60 fishermen from the state of Kerala remain stranded in Iran after the country declares health emergency due to coronavirus outbreak. Iran has also stalled flight services after recording the second-highest number of casualties succeeded by China, Indian Express reported.

The Indian fishermen had left for the national capital Tehran four months ago on fishermen visa. The fishermen, predominantly from Vizhinjan, Pozhiyoor, Mariyanadu, and Anchuthengu, along with 350 others from Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are now stuck in Iran. Their predicament came to light when some of them shared a video of their living condition with their relatives. According to the video, 23 fishers were seen sharing a small space with intermittent access to water and food. They are currently lodged in the coastal area of Asaluyeh in Bushehr province, Indian Express report added.

After the video went viral, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote a letter to Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar saying hundreds of Indian fishermen are trapped in Iran's Azalur - of which around 60 are from Kerala.

Last week, hundreds of Kashmiri students stranded in the country had sent out a desperate appeal for evacuation, NDTV reported.

Jayashankar took to Twitter to assure Indians in Iran that they will be evacuated soon. He wrote:

“Working on the issue of Indians in Iran anxious to return due to #COVID19. I have seen many tweets in this regard. We are collaborating with the Iranian authorities to set up a screening process for the return of Indians.”

The death toll in Iran has jumped to 54, with around 1000 remain infected by the deadly disease. The ministry's spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said new cases were confirmed in a number of cities, including Mashhad, which is home to Iran's most important Shiite shrine that attracts pilgrims from across the region, India Today reported.

Published on March 02, 2020

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