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‘We are in handcuffs’: British South Asian migrants disappointed when India joins Kuwait’s red list | India

F.Or in the last 17 months, Sorawat Dutt has had to be seen from afar as relatives have been lost to Kovid, ancestral homes have been damaged by the storm, and loneliness, grief and mental anguish of illness have called into question his existence.

They had booked flights for May, but as matters escalated and India was on the UK’s travel red list from April 23, it was no longer an option. “It’s a very stressful time,” Dutt said. “You think there are a million ways to help, but we’re handcuffed.” We need to be there to deal with these things.

With India and Pakistan and Bangladesh on the red list, travel to the three South Asian countries inhabited by the UK is largely banned, raising hopes for the reunification of thousands of families over the summer.

And in recent weeks, many travelers have been stranded in long-haul environments, unable to return home due to the high cost of hotel accommodation and the cost of rocket flights. This means there is a sea of ​​economic and mental struggle as families break up, jobs and careers are jeopardized, and schooling and exams are lost.

Zeeshan Mirza, who is returning to the UK from Lahore, said, “The government’s big bang to bring Pakistan to the red list was not serious and it has punished British citizens unnecessarily,” although he was fined “fine”. He has no choice but to pay, even though he is already in debt, because he needs to go back to work with his wife and child.

Many believe they have been fined for traveling on compassionate grounds and have not been given enough time to return to the UK. “Not everyone travels for a holiday and can’t afford it,” said a man who went to Pakistan last month to help his ailing mother. He is self-employed and needs to return to his wife and child.

Gohar Shah’s wife and three young children had gone to Lahore for their father’s last rites at the end of March, and feared they would not see them again unless the shortage of the house was allowed. “They need to come back,” said Shah, whose two youngest children have since fallen ill and have been hospitalized. “But I can’t stand it [hotel quarantine] Because I’m already heavily in debt and can’t borrow more.

There was a sense of injustice, with many pointing out that the most developed countries do not have the worst rates. And given that the crisis in India has been escalating for weeks, questions have been raised about why the UK delayed adding India to the red list, even when it was recording daily cases. Earlier, countries with less spread were included.

“The only reason the UK has gone so far is to have a trade agreement,” Dutt said. “Time is running out and both sides need to sign it, but the UK needs more than India at the moment.”

Another problem is that the UK does not yet have a system in place for fully vaccinated citizens to ignore hotel quarantines, and they question why the government does not quarantine these travelers at home. Let it happen

Lives are stagnant. An NHS worker in Derby, who has been fully vaccinated, has yet to see his one-year-old son. Frequent trips had to be canceled due to the lockdown, which cost him a lot of money as well as mental distress, as he could not go to Islamabad to bring his wife and child home..

In January, Hamid Azeem and his wife He sold his inherited farmland to buy a piece of land to build his retirement home, and the completely unsuitable couple booked flights in May to complete the transaction. Azeem said, “Now if we go it will cost us about 4,000 extra and if we don’t go we will lose our money for this land, which is about £ 7,000. Is.”

Students returning to India or Pakistan via Easter say they can’t afford hotel quarantine but still have to pay rent back in the UK, and try hard to keep classes despite the time difference. have been. Others say they miss exams.

For those left behind in the UK, this will be a season of missing out on opportunities to see parents, siblings or grandchildren. “We don’t know how many summers we have left,” said one woman, whose father is in critical condition and lives in Pakistan.

Murad Hussain’s parents in Bangladesh will not be able to see their only son since November 2019. The whole family hopes it will change by May or June, but once again they are in a state of uncertainty. “Sometimes I have advised myself not to get frustrated,” Hussein said. “But will we wait a few months or a dozen? No one knows. All I know is that my parents see me.” Are dying for

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