Thousands of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders have been forced to cancel trips to India owing to the recent ban on their entry by the GOI and are apprehensive they will not be able to get back in the event of an emergency.
Dozens managed to get last minute-flights before the ban on visa-free entry to OCI cardholders came into effect on Friday.
Tara Sahgal, a student a Kings College, London, bought a last-minute ticket to Delhi, as she is convinced the pandemic will get worse in the UK. “They are doing nothing to stop the spread in Britain and the UK is going to be the next Italy. It is unfair because OCI cardholders are as Indian as anyone else. If there is an epidemic, we need to go home,” the 19-year-old said.
Others who rushed back included pupils at private schools in Britain and those with business in India.
“At least, the Indian government is taking drastic action to avoid the virus spread. The UK is leaving everything in Gods hands,” said Harendra Jodha, head of the Rajasthan Association UK.
“Those who flew back feel they can get cheaper and better treatment in India and that is where their family is. Here people cant get the tests done. In India, the Air Force even went to Iran with a mobile laboratory and tested people,” Jodha said.
“People think the NHS cant cope. You cant even get through to the NHS number. The UK should ask the world for help and not have such a big ego. Other countries can send testing kits. This is about humanity. People who are OCI cardholders still feel they are Indian citizens. This is the first time they have felt they are a bit different and not equal to Indian citizenship. But they understand the government rationale,” Jodha added.
There is a Covid-19 emergency visa form for OCI cardholders online, but Jodha said there was still a sense of fear in peoples minds.
“If the coronavirus spreads in India and affects the elderly, I think it will be very difficult to get the emergency visa. You must run to the embassy and do paperwork. We wont get back in time for funerals,” Jodha said.
Nandini Singh, from Reach India, said OCI cardholders forced to cancel trips home accepted the decision, as they did not want India to become like China or Italy. “We are wondering why Britain is not banning flights from heavily affected areas and not screening passengers at Heathrow, to be frank,” she said.
“I am pragmatic about it, rather than getting all emotional about what an OCI card means,” Radhesh Menon, who lives in the US, said. “OCI cardholders are mostly in countries which are better off than India in terms of resources. Why would you go and perpetuate things in a system that is already teetering on a very fiRead More – Source