Tehran/New Delhi: Almost 900 Indian fishermen stranded in Iran, the third most coronavirus-hit nation, appealed to the Indian government to save their lives as they are on the verge of starvation.
However, no step has been taken by the government in this direction so far.
Of the fishermen stranded in Iran, 700 are from Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu. 200 of these fishermen are safe from coronavirus but are not getting minimum food to survive which is adding to their problems.
Janish, a fisherman stranded in Iran, told IANS over phone: "If we are not evacuated from Iran as soon as possible, then we might survive coronavirus but we will die of hunger."
Fishermen's organisation Neithal Eluchi Parawai has sent a complete list of names of 800 fishermen stranded in Iran, including passport numbers and telephone numbers, which include 200 people from Kerala and other states of the country. The list is available with IANS.
The organisation has written to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on March 2, requesting him to immediately take steps to bring back 900 Indian fishermen stranded in Iran.
In the letter, Neithal Eluchi Paravai Chairman John Leonard and Secretary Sagar Vincent have appealed to Jaishankar to immediately evacuate the fishermen in Iran. A copy of the letter is also available with IANS.
Citing the increasing COVID-19 infection in Iran, the organisation in the letter said: "Fishermen have very limited food supplies and since flights to all Gulf countries have been postponed and currently there is no direct flight to India from Iran, therefore, the lives of all of them is in danger. The fishermen and their families living in India are worried."
"We humbly request the External Affairs Minister to intervene immediately to bring back the stranded Indian fishermen from a chartered flight or a ship can also be used to evacuate them," the letter read.