Dubai: Indian visitors to the UAE, who are stuck in Oman’s Musandam, are seeking help from the authorities to cross the land border to catch a repatriation flight.
At least four people, including two women and a child, have appealed for special humanitarian consideration so that they can meet the August 11 deadline given to visit visas holders to exit the country or correct their legal status.
Jayakumar Ramakrishna Pillai, who was a longtime resident who left Dubai in January 2019, said he had come back to the UAE in January this year on a visit visa.
“From the UAE, I travelled to a resort in Musandam as a guest through Dibba Al Hisn border in Sharjah,” he told Gulf News.
Since UAE residents and visit visa holders visit this area of Oman without a visa, Pillai said he used that route.
However, he was stranded after the borders were closed due to COVID-19.
“I would have travelled back to UAE and then to India by this time. But due to the restrictions, I was not allowed to cross the border and return.”
He said the resort management had also been trying to send him back to the UAE since March and had written to the Indian missions to help him with the necessary permission from the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to give him permission to travel.
After India began its repatriation services under the Vande Bharat Mission, Pillai said he registered with the Indian Embassy for repatriation and also managed to book a ticket on an Air India Express flight scheduled on July 10.
“However, on reaching the border that morning, I could not cross the Dibba Al Hisn border and I missed the flight. I am stuck here for four months now,” he said, adding that he was worried about his food and shelter, besides medical expenses.
Family visit gets longer
The two women visitors, Shahala Nasreen and Beema Thameem, as well as Thameem’s five-year-old son Aymen Ayan, have a different story to share.
The women had come over to the UAE for the first time and took the Dibba Al Hisn route to Musandam to visit their husbands who work in travel and tourism companies in the peninsula.
They said they had entered Musandam using one-week’s legal entry permit on March 8.
They said the border was closed on March 14 night. Since they could not get back to the UAE and return home due to the travel restrictions, the women extended their stay with their husbands.
Since the UAE has now given a deadline for visit visa holders to return, they said they wanted to fly back to India before it expires.
The women also appealed to the Indian and UAE authorities to consider their request on a humanitarian basis and allow them to be repatriated before the August 11 deadline.
When contacted, the Indian Consulate in Dubai told Gulf News that the mission had taken up the matter with the local authorities.
“We were aware of the case of Jayakumar (Pillai). We have come to know about the women’s case also. We are pursuing the matter with the local authorities to facilitate the repatriation of the stranded Indian visitors,” said Neeraj Agrawal, consul, Press, Information and Culture.