Thiruvananthapuram

COVID-19: Kerala fishermen in Iran appeal again for help

The men posted a video saying their sponsor threatened to cut off their food and phone connections

Even as the Centre began efforts for the safe return of Indians trapped in COVID-19-hit Iran, several Keralite fishermen stranded in the west Asian country have made another appeal for assistance to return home.

The men posted a video on Monday saying that their sponsor had threatened to cut off their food and gas supplies and mobile phone connections. He reportedly informed them that they would not be allowed to return to India unless he was compensated in full.

On Saturday, the fishermen from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala and Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district had posted a video describing their plight. They wanted the Indian government to evacuate them at the earliest, as they were running low on food and water.

Meanwhile, it is understood that the men would have to undergo the 28-day observation period, after which the Centre would attempt their release.

Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty Amma said on Monday that the State government had requested the Indian Embassy in Tehran to ensure provision of food and water to the stranded fishermen.

Iran has reported a jump in COVID-19 death toll as well the number of infections.

On Sunday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had written to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar seeking his help for the safe return of the fishermen. Mr. Jaishankar stated that the government was working with the Iranian authorities to establish a screening process for the return of Indians.

Gaddam Dharmendra, the Indian Ambassador in Iran, has been asked to keep all parties concerned updated, Mr. Jaishankar added.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:04:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/covid-19-kerala-fishermen-in-iran-appeal-again-for-help/article30964410.ece

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