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Desperate Sri Lankans highlight Chennai nightmare

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16 April 2020 12:31 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Abdul Hassan Mohamed Zarrok, (sitting extreme left) and some others stranded in Chennai

 

Over forty Sri Lankans stranded in India sans proper food and lodging plead to President Rajapaksa to get them back home

 

Around 35 males and five females have gone to India for different purposes

For more than a month the group has been stuck in ordinary hotels

The group was asked to leave the hotel as the hotel could not be closed when they are there

 

Over 40 Sri Lankans stranded at Chennai, India are desperately urging President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government to help them return to the island as they are without food, money or proper lodging facilities where they are now. 


Around 35 males and five females have gone to India for different purposes; which includes the obtaining of medical treatment, facing of interviews to obtain visas to other countries and other business engagements. They claim they are living in fear as few cases of Covid-19 too were reported from the area they are staying now. The group has been living in areas closer to Chennai like Mannadi, Tnagar, Egmore and Annai Nagar. 


These Sri Lankans expatriates are from various parts in the island like Colombo, Kegalle, Mawanella, Wennappuwa, Puttalam, Kurunegala, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Kalutara, Beruwala and Muttur. 


For more than a month the group has been stuck in ordinary hotels paying large sums of money for lodging, but getting hardly anything to eat.


“We came to India to obtain medical treatment, but due to the current situation we got stranded and we don’t even have necessary food,” said Abdul Hassan Mohamed Zarook, a heart patient from Kegalle, who had visited India for treatment. 


“Please make necessary arrangement for us to return to our country as we are in a terrible situation here,” pleaded the 63-year-old Zarook with tears in his eyes.


Twenty three-old Heshani Navodya, who has come from Polonnaruwa to face an interview to obtain a visa, was to return to Sri Lanka on March 18. “Unfortunately by that time airports in Sri Lanka were closed and there was no opportunity for us to leave India. There are over 40 others like me who are stranded here. There are nine Sri Lankans with me in the hotel and we are the only occupants in the hotel now,” said Navodya adding that the hotel management is asking them to leave at the earliest. 


The group was asked to leave the hotel as the hotel could not be closed when they are there. “We don’t have any other place to go. There are no other hotels here and there is no place to obtain food as well. We understand the situation that the authorities and the people are experiencing in Sri Lanka, but we are really helpless at this moment,” added the young girl who had visited India with much hopes of finding a a job overseas. 


“We urge President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to help us to return to our country soon and if there are any difficulty in doing that please make necessary arrangements for us to stay here until we make our return. There is no one here to help us at this moment,” she pleaded.

 

The owner of the hotel they are staying at is requesting them to leave soon. But where can they go? The most dangerous problem here is that they see that the people living in the vicinity of this hotel do not follow lock down rules properly. From upper floors they can see that they are moving around freely


“For almost every meal we eat dhal and rice and we purchase the items  from a nearby boutique. But even such items are also going out of stock now,” Dishan Fernando, from Wennappuwa, who had gone to face an interview to be employed in a foreign country said. 


“The most difficult problem is that we don’t have money to survive here now. We used to get money from our homes, but in the absence of bank facilities there is no way of obtaining money from Sri Lanka as well,” Dishan a qualified hotel employee said while describing the pathetic situation the group is faced with. 


“The owner of the hotel we are staying at is requesting us to leave soon. But where can we go? The most dangerous problem here is that we see that the people living in the vicinity of this hotel do not follow lock down rules properly. From upper floors we can see that they are moving around freely. If somebody in this area gets infected with the virus there is a real threat to everyone around here,” Dishan claimed.


The members of this group said that details with regard to all those stranded have been provided to the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai and the Deputy High Commission is yet to make necessary arrangement to get them back to Sri Lanka. 


An officer from the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission Office in Chennai has contacted members of the group and stated that the document pertaining to all forty odd Sri Lankans has been sent to Sri Lanka, and was awaiting a response.  
 


  Comments - 1

  • Dennis Davis Thursday, 16 April 2020 10:39 PM

    Why didn't you contact the Sri lankan High Commission which is in Chennai,surely they would help. Further our President/Prime Minister will certainly help they are good human beings. Keep your spirits high. Combined Prayers will help. God Bless You All


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