KOCHI: Most of the Indian nurses, who returned from Iraq on Saturday, vowed not to go back there. “We will not go back. There is no question of going back. We are not prepared to endanger our lives once again,” said Sandra Sebastian, a nurse from Kottayam. “Earlier, we were a batch of 23 nurses and then 15 more joined us in February,” she added. They refused to oblige when Sunni militants asked them to leave their Tikrit hospital, where they had been trapped, as the Indian embassy had not given them permission to move out.
Meanwhile, a communication gap between airport authorities and Indian officials slightly delayed the landing of the aircraft at Erbil. “Our aircraft was denied permission to land at Erbil. Following this, Kerala House Resident Commissioner Gyanesh Kumar contacted me from the flight and informed me about the situation. I called External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj by 2 am requesting her to intervene. Her timely intervention resolved the crisis,” said Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
The special flight that took off from Erbil around 4.10 am reached Mumbai by 8.43 am. After a halt and refreshments, the flight left for Kochi by 10 am.
Apart from the Kerala nurses and another nurse from Thoothukudi, the special flight carried 114 other Indian expatriates and 23 cabin crew, and left for Delhi via Hyderabad.