VIJAYAWADA: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar late Tuesday announced that Indian students stranded at the Kuala Lumpur airport could return home on AirAsia flights to Vizag and New Delhi, much to their relief.
His intervention came hours after the central government banned all flights from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia with immediate effect.
More than 300 people from India, including around 100 from AP and Telangana, were stranded at the Kuala Lumpur airport on their way home when the ban came into force.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, following reports of their helpless situation, directed officials at the CMO to work on bringing them home. MP Vijayasai Reddy and State government officials accordingly got in touch with the External Affairs Ministry. Speaking to TNIE, Raga Chandana, a 20-yearold medico from Narasaraopeta in Guntur district, who was waiting to return, heaved a sigh of relief and thanked the government.
Earlier, coordinator of AP Non-Resident Telugu Society (APNRTS) in Malaysia K Anand told TNIE about the plight of the passengers stranded at Kuala Lumpur.
“They don’t even have Malaysian currency. Most of them came from the Philippines in the hope of catching a flight home. Now, they can’t return to the Philippines easily as flights there are being regulated.”
“We have sent a situation report to the AP government and Indian government through APNRTS, and hope some assistance will be provided,” he added.
Most of the passengers who were stranded were travelling to India from the Philippines after Manila announced that a nationwide clampdown would be imposed in 72 hours. But when they reached Kuala Lumpur, they were told India had stopped flights to and from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia with immediate effect.
Stuck in Airport, Telugu people seek help for return
Those who are still in the Philippines, such as Chandana, however, are on tenterhooks. “Last night (Monday), the government here said those who want to leave the Philippines can do so within 72 hours. A few of us tried to but couldn’t get tickets. Hour by hour, restrictions on the movement of people are increasing.”
“We are scared. We want to come back, but with Indian government prohibiting us from returning, we don’t know what to do,” the third-year student at Emilio Aguinaldo College School of Medicine told TNIE, adding that they are hoping to fly to Malaysia, and from there to India.