Indian envoy in UK warns against fake news circulating on evacuation flights

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London, March 29: The Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Ruchi Ghanashyam, on Sunday appealed to Indian citizens stranded in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic to beware of fake news doing the rounds about Air India evacuation flights planned next week.
Ghanashyam posted a copy of the fake news being circulated via WhatsApp messages and on social media, which claims that the Indian carrier will be operating evacuation flights from Delhi and Mumbai, and called on Indian nationals to only believe information formally provided by the High Commission of India in London.
I appeal to all Indians in UK not to believe in or forward rumours and follow HCI [High Commission of India] London’s social media platforms for updates, Ghanashyam said on Twitter.
Please see FAQs posted earlier for your queries. Do not publicise personal info. Stay safe and follow NHS [National Health Service] guidelines, she said.
The fake message, which has been shared and forwarded several times, claims the flights are being scheduled for April 1 and 2 between London Heathrow and Delhi and on April 3 from Heathrow to Mumbai.
They will need to contact the Indian High Commission in London to figure out about a seat, reads the message, which triggered a flurry of queries on social media for the Indian mission about the registration process involved.
No flights are allowed to land till April 14. Please register your name on HCI’s website so that we can contact you whenever flights open, the mission said in a statement.
Hundreds of Indian students, professionals and tourists are stranded in different parts of the UK after India updated its travel advisory to impose a ban on international flights until April 14 as part of its lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19.
Among them is a group of at least 380 students from India who have started a data chain with their passport details to create a collective voice to lobby the Indian government for evacuation.
The UK Home Office had recently confirmed that any foreign students or professionals on visas that had expired or expiring would be given an extension at least until May 31.
Many of the stranded students, from different parts of India including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand, expressed their relief at the extension but they remain concerned about the limited resources at their disposal in the face of mounting accommodation and essentials costs.
High Commission notes with dismay that some rumours are being spread even in such trying times. We request all not to pay attention to rumours. Stay connected with us for updates, the High Commission said. (PTI)