SRINAGAR: Around 900 Kashmiri residents are stranded in Dubai and are seeking some kind of evacuation to Srinagar. They are willing to pay the costs, even added on, if they are directly flown to Srinagar as some of the stranded are sick women and some in an advanced stage of pregnancy.
“We are taking care of these people at the community level but we are unable to manage the patients and those who have lost their jobs right now,” one Dubai resident, a Kashmiri, said. “These patients will be taken care of by their families back home.”
The resident said that some of the people who are stranded had come to see their members on a tourist visa. “Some of them have completed their visa and need to be renewed and in certain cases, some have their passports expired,” the resident. who is involved in the management exercise on a community basis. He said in most of the cases, they can live in Dubai till December. There are almost 500 cases in which the visa has already expired. However, those who have lost jobs have lost the insurance cover as well.
Those stranded include almost 85 businessmen from Kashmir who had flown in for the Global Village exhibition. The exhibition was supposed to conclude on Aril 22 but because of the pandemic, it was closed on March 14. All the participants are stuck in Dubai.
The stranded people said they have been constantly in touch with the embassy but there has not been any responsible response to their pleas. They have communicated the embassy in writing that they will pay the additional costs for flying them directly to Srinagar and that they will abide by all rules and regulations including staying in quarantine for the mandatory fortnight. The stranded say they would willingly go through Delhi but the problem is of the unwell females, elderly and the children who may not be able to manage the climatic conditions of quarantine in Delhi. There are almost 80 persons who are 70 years old and they are desperately waiting for permission to fly home.
Kashmir community has already lost one woman, a mother of three, to Covid-19. Reports said around six others have also been infected of whom one, a female, is in hospital.
Most of the stranded at individual and collective levels have registered for evacuation under Vande Mission Baharat. In fact, the evacuations are taking place in Dubai. But the Kashmiris said they were later informed by the Indian Consulate officials that they should contact their administration in Jammu and Kashmir directly.
Resident Kashmiris said the situation is expected to get bad owing to delay. More and more workers are losing their jobs and the numbers are increasing. “Some of them are not able to pay their rents and that will create a major crisis in coming days,” he said. The list of stranded include 45 individuals who have lost their jobs and 340 have medical issues.
Read a large narrative on Dubai’s Kashmir diaspora