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Coronavirus: OCI students stranded in US, UK

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on March 19, 2020 Published on March 18, 2020

Parents worried as Covid-19 spreads further

A Kalpana (name changed) is a US citizen who got an OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) after her NRI parents returned to India for good about 15 years ago. After completing her secondary education here, she joined an undergrad course in an university in California.

But after the Covid-19 outbreak in the US, along with several other countries, her college was closed like several other colleges across the country.

But while hundreds of other students from India could come back, Kalpana could not. Not just her, all OCI card holders are stranded in the US.

The Government of India, as a precautionary measure, has barred OCI card holders from entering India from March 13 to April 15.

Those with friends and relatives there are better off. They can quickly travel to the cities or towns to take shelter.

Back home, parents are worried. With reports of virulent Covid-19 outbreak in several US States, they have asked the Centre to allow their kids to come back.

“We are requesting Ministry of External Affairs to allow students with OCI cards to return home to India as US colleges have shut classes. Kids who could not travel back before March 13 are stranded, isolated, with limited insurance and support,” tweeted a parent, in an appeal to the Centre.

At the last count, over 4,000 parents have signed the online petition window Change.org, started by Kavitha Prasad.

Colleges shut

“A lot of students from India are stuck in the US, UK and other countries. Colleges are closed for Easter break in the UK for a month,” she said in the petition in the petition.

“Some colleges in US are shut down for the entire term. Our kids have to vacate their college rooms and have nowhere to go,” she said.

The parents have asked the Ministry of External Affairs to look into the issue and allow the students to return to India.

“The Government should honour the promises it made while granting the OCI cards. It can’t suddenly change the rules. We can understand if it changed the clauses in the policy. ,” said AB Raju (name changed), a parent who works for a multi-national IT firm.

A Columbia University student, who is back in India now, said the classes are put off till the (final) semester is over.

Published on March 18, 2020
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