Nurses, hospital representatives to meet on July 11

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has called the 46 Indian nurses brought back to the country from strife-torn Iraq for a meeting here on July 11 with representatives of institutions that have offered to rehabilitate them with jobs.

“Many big-hearted people have come forward with offers of job and other assistance to the nurses, 45 of whom are from our State. The response to their plight has been overwhelming,” Mr. Chandy told the Assembly on Monday. He said all the nurses, including one from Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, who returned to the country on Saturday, would be rehabilitated. He invited Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan to the meeting.

Earlier, as soon as the zero hour began, Speaker G. Karthikeyan made a statement putting on record the happiness of the Assembly over the safe return of 180 Indians, including the nurses, from Iraq.

“Timely interventions by both the Union and State governments were decisive in putting an end to the uncertainty lasting several days over their safety. For this, let us congratulate both the governments,” Mr. Karthikeyan said.

“In this context, one should make a special mention of the timely interventions made by Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, the External Affairs Ministry, and the Indian embassy in Iraq,” the Speaker said.

Mr. Achuthanandan congratulated the governments for bringing home the nurses. He said the nurses, on their return home, were all praise for the manner in which the “so-called extremists who had taken them captives” had behaved with them. “We owe our gratitude to them also,” he said.

Mr. Chandy said many more Indians, including Keralites, were staying on in Iraq. The State was in constant liaison with the External Affairs Ministry and the Indian embassy to ensure that Keralites who wanted to return were safely brought back.

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