27 fliers stay back and seek asylum in France as grounded plane returns to India


Our Bureau


The plane carrying the passengers landed at Mumbai’s Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport early morning on Tuesday after they were deported from France. However, over 2 dozen passengers on board the charter plane stayed back despite the aircraft flying out to Mumbai after legal clearances.

These include 20 adults and 5 minors who have sought asylum in France, said a local official, without identifying their nationality. Their applications would be processed at the Paris airport.

According to international law, asylum seekers can’t be sent back to their country of origin. Two others questioned by the French police over suspected trafficking stayed back too, but they have received expulsion order from France, their lawyer said.

They were released after the cops were convinced the passengers had boarded the flight out of free will, reports suggest.

The plane belonging to Romania’s Legend Airlines landed in Mumbai with 276 passengers after a go-ahead from a French judge. It is not known exactly how many Indians are among the 276 passengers and what nationality are the other flyers.

Those who landed in Mumbai were questioned extensively by CISF. The aircraft was headed to Nicaragua but was grounded “on a technical halt” last week by authorities at the Vatry airport in France.

On Monday, the Indian Embassy in France thanked the French government and the Vatry Airport authorities for their hospitality and quick resolution of the situation that allowed Indian passengers to return home. The embassy also praised the cooperation of French authorities for working closely with the embassy team and ensuring the safe return of citizens.

The Nicaragua-bound Airbus A340 was carrying 303 passengers, most of them Indians, when it reached Vatry airport near Paris last Friday. It was grounded on its arrival from Dubai for refuelling after an anonymous tip-off that the passengers could be potential trafficking victims.

Nicaragua in central America is a popular destination for immigrants to cross into the US illegally.

Nearly 97,000 Indians have tried to enter the US illegally in the financial year 2023, a whopping 51.61 % jump from the previous year as per US official data. At least 41,770 of those Indians tried to cross the Mexican land border into the US, the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) data showed.

Flights to Nicaragua or other countries where one can easily obtain travel documents are known as ‘donkey’ flights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top