Caroline Thomas Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Indian expat parents in the UAE are calling upon relevant government authorities to intervene and help their children return to the Emirates.

Distraught parents and their children came together in a Zoom meeting yesterday to express their concerns and fears over the COVID-19 pandemic in India and the need for governments to do something to bring the students to the UAE so they can be reunited.

Caroline Susan Thomas is one student who is raising her voice for the return of several stranded Indian expat students who have been forced out of their campus or made to live close to quarantine centres, thereby posing a severe risk to their health and overall safety and security.

Thomas, a second year student studying electronics and communication in the Indian state of Karnataka, has sent out several emails to the Ministry of External Affairs, India and the UAE Embassy, New Delhi, India to take immediate action for their safe return to the UAE. “But nothing has come so far. Our safety and security is at risk, something needs to be done,” she said.

Palash Patil, a final year mechanical engineering student studying in Mangalore, was another vocal participant in the Zoom meeting which included media from India and the UAE. He said he wanted to urgently return home as he has been asked to vacate his dorm more than a month ago and has been living at his friend’s place. “I am also concerned that part of my hostel has been turned into a quarantine centre. Most likely my bed is being used by a COVID-19 patient. I cannot return to my hostel. I cannot live forever in someone else’s house. I just want to come back home.”

Palash Patil Image Credit: Supplied

The students also said they fear risk of contracting the virus as there has been a steady rise in the number of COVID-19 positive cases in India.

Thomas, who lives at her university campus, also said a part of her hostel had been converted into a quarantine centre. “Besides there are several workers who come from other towns. We are afraid of contracting the infection. We hope our plea is heard by authorities.”

Her father John Thomas, who has lived in the UAE for 27 years, feared for the mental state and well-being of his child and other stranded Indian children of UAE parents. “They are reaching a tipping point and am afraid they may crack up. All this time we have been talking to them and trying to keep their spirts up. But for how long?” he said.