Operation Kaveri | India completes risky evacuation of most of the Hakki Pikki tribe members from Sudan

Indian community in Port Sudan has been using a school in the city as a hostel for the Indian evacuees and members of the Hakki Pikki tribe stayed there for a night before being flown to Jiddah

May 04, 2023 12:11 pm | Updated 04:15 pm IST - New Delhi

Prabhu Dass and other members of the Hakki Pikki tribe of Karnataka on board the bus from El Fashir to Port Sudan. Photo: Special Arrangement

Prabhu Dass and other members of the Hakki Pikki tribe of Karnataka on board the bus from El Fashir to Port Sudan. Photo: Special Arrangement

Completing a particularly high risk part of the ongoing Operation Kaveri, India has evacuated dozens of members of the Hakki Pikki tribe of Karnataka from war torn Sudan. Elaborating on the journey from western region of Darfur to Saudi port of Jeddah via Port Sudan a member of the community expressed gratitude to the Government of India and said they spent four days and three nights in buses that were provided to them by the Indian Embassy in Khartoum.

Watch: 181 persons from Karnataka stuck in Sudan amid shortage of food, water

“Our batch consisted of 71 Hakki Pikki members and we had to travel around around two thousand kilometres from El Fashir to Port Sudan. We were divided into two buses that carried us from El Fashir,” said Prabhu Dass, a member of the Hakki Pikki tribe who coordinated with the Indian Embassy regarding the evacuation. Mr. Dass said that the journey was difficult as one of the buses broke down mid way and had to be replaced. 

Also read: Opinion | Rescue service: On ‘Operation Kaveri’ and Sudan

“We are thankful to the Embassy of India in Khartoum, Karnataka government and the Government of India for helping us during this difficult period,” Mr. Dass said informing that they had to spend a night out in the open as they waited for the replacement bus to join them. The Hakki Pikkis are one of the extremely vulnerable tribal communities of India and this particular group was involved in selling herbal items to various African locations from Sudan to central Africa. 

Mr. Dass explained that the women and men spent the night in a forest area without proper mobile connectivity saying, “the replacement bus joined us by morning and we were able to come to Port Sudan”. 

Also read: Explained | A quick guide to the unfolding crisis in Sudan 

The Indian community in Port Sudan has been using a school in the city as a hostel for the Indian evacuees and the members of the Hakki Pikki tribe stayed there for a night before being flown to Jiddah in a C-130J aircraft. This batch of Indians from El Fashir hit the headlines when former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah urged the External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to help them evacuate. The remark came soon after the fighting broke out in Sudan on April 15 as two wings of the Sudanese armed forces the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) clashed with heavy weapons, missiles and fighter jets. 

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