Thiruvananthapuram, April 13 : Soon after the Supreme Court on Monday turned down a petition demanding evacuation of Indians from the Middle East in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a Kerala minister and a Lok Sabha member got engaged in a war of words.
Hearing the news that the apex court has decided not to intervene in the matter as the Centre’s directive was “stay where you are”, Kerala Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel slammed Congress MP from Kozhikode, M.K. Raghavan, the petitioner.
“The MP’s attempt could well have been avoided. He was trying to score political brownie points and wanted to portray the Kerala government in poor light. And now that the apex court has come out with this decision, people stuck there (Middle East) will have to wait. We were handling this issue and the Chief Minister even raised it at the video conference with the Prime Minister,” said Jaleel.
Hitting back at Jaleel, Raghavan said his response of was not befitting of a minister and it was Jaleel who was trying to score political points.
“The first thing what Jaleel should understand is that I was not the only petitioner, as there were many. I am hearing numerous sob tales from our people who are stuck in various Middle East countries. I have got requests from people who are even willing to charter their own flights for which they need permission from the Civil Aviation Ministry.
“Today I got a request from a nurse who is nine months pregnant and wants to return. The is lockdown is about to complete three weeks, and the demand to bring our people back from the Middle East has been there for some time now. Judiciary is the last resort in this matter,” said Raghavan.
Ever since India closed its air space, thousands of Keralites have been demanding the state and the Centre to see that they are brought back to Kerala.
There are about 2.5 million Keralites in the Middle East, of which a large number of people are labourers who are presently holed up in labour camps there.