A bench headed by the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Gita Mittal which also had Justice Rajesh Bindal ordered the government of India to evacuate the Indian students studying in Iran and identify appropriate protocols to ensure the same.
The High Court directed the Ministries of External Affairs, Health and Family Welfare and Civil Aviation to coordinate and ensure that the students aren’t put to any inconvenience.
The court passed the directions based on a petition filed by Dr Zahoor Hussain Mir, whose niece, Heena Sugra Shabnum is a student of medicine studying in the Tehran University. She was to have returned home for vacations on February 26, but due to flight schedules that have changed due to COVID 2019, she was unable to return home.
More than 300 students from the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are studying in various universities of Iran and are under the risk of contacting the Coronavirus, even as Iran has been affected by this virus, with even the Vice-President becoming a victim of it.
Many of these students were seen uploading videos, pleading with the authorities to be rescued and highlighting the difficulties they are facing.
The High Court also directed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to provide masks, medicines and other essential supplies to the students in Iran.
The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were also directed to establish laboratories of high standards for testing of samples of those affected.
On Thursday, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan stated on the floor of the Rajya Sabha that the government is keen to establish a temporary laboratory in Iran to test its citizens before getting them back to India. However, this will take place only with the cooperation of the Iranian authorities.
The two nations have witnessed tensions in their relationship in recent times, due to the US sanctions on Iran and the Iranian Foreign Minister’s unwarranted reference to the Delhi riots.
The Ministry of External Affairs has previously said that it was monitoring the situation in Iran and will mount a rescue operation if the situation warrants.