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Indian pilgrims in Iran protest New Delhi’s failure to consider evacuation request

A group of Indian pilgrims in Iran have gathered in front of their country’s embassy in Tehran to denounce the New Delhi government’s failure to consider their demand for evacuation after more than two weeks of being stranded over fears of exposure to the new coronavirus.

The stranded pilgrims, mostly from Kargil and Leh districts in the Ladakh region of Indian-administered Kashmir, staged the protest on Thursday after the Indian government allegedly failed to duly consider their demand for immediate evacuation.

There are about 2,000 Indian pilgrims stranded in Iran. They visited religious shrines in the Islamic country but got stuck as regular commercial flights were suspended between the two countries following the spread of the virus.

India ambassador: Three flights to take stranded pilgrims home

Later on Thursday, India’s Ambassador to Iran Dhamu Gaddam tweeted that three flights have been scheduled to take stranded Indian pilgrims back home.

To assure all that our efforts ongoing. Arrangements made for another group of 120 stranded pilgrims to leave for India tomorrow Friday. A third flight is being prepared and is scheduled for departure Saturday. @DrSJaishankar @umashankarsingh @Geeta_Mohan— Dhamu Gaddam (@dhamugaddam) March 12, 2020

The new coronavirus, called COVID-19, initially emerged in China late last year and is now spreading in Europe and across the Middle East, sparking a global pandemic.

Iran has taken an all-of-government approach to fighting the outbreak.

Iran doing its best in COVID-19 battle despite lack of equipment: WHO

Iran doing its best in COVID-19 battle despite lack of equipment: WHOThe WHO chief has commended Iran

Iranian health authorities said on Thursday that 10,075 people were confirmed positive for coronavirus in the country since the infection was detected on February 19.

A total of 429 have died of the virus while the number of people released from hospitals after recovering from the illness has surpassed 3,000.

The Indian government is widely accused of bias and violence against the Muslim minority in India, including prominently in Kashmir.

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