The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on 4 March, has sought for Centre’s response by 12 March 2020, on a plea filed by a Budgam resident, regarding the evacuation of Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh students from Iran, the second epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal made Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Secretary Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Secretary Ministry of Civil Aviation, Chief Secretaries and Commissioner Secretaries of Health and Medical Education Departments of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh respectively as party respondents in a plea filed by a resident of Budgam, Dr. Zahoor Hussain Mir who made a representation highlighting the circumstances of students stranded in Iran and urged for their evacuation. As per sources, Dr. Hussain is the guardian of a female student from Budgam district who is pursuing MBBS at Tehran University in Iran.
“My request is to save the children studying in Iran. Time is running out and they are losing hope as days are passing without any intervention by the Ministry of External Affairs to evacuate the stranded students as was done in case of students stranded in Wuhan, China,” the representation demanded.
The bench has further directed the Ministry of External Affairs and other concerned ministries of the Government of India to initiate steps for the evacuation of the Indian nationals from the Union Territories of Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh, stranded in Iran.
According to the directions, the Ministries of External Affairs, Health and Civil Aviation are required through the Indian Embassy in Tehran, Iran, and their offices, to ensure availability of the required materials including masks, medication and essential commodities including food etc. to all Indians, especially students, who are stated to be stranded there.
The High Court further directed the administrations of Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh to ensure the creation of proper isolation and quarantine facilities besides testing laboratories for prevention of the novel coronavirus disease and treatment of the persons infected/carrying the infection.
As per reports, due to the sudden outbreak of coronavirus in Iran, all air traffic has been suspended from Iran towards other nations including India. Hundreds of Kashmiris are facing a shortage of masks, medicines and other essential commodities due to a mass shutdown by Iranian government.