Thiruvananthapuram: In videos posted on Twitter by union minister VK Singh, Indians evacuated from war-battered South Sudan as part of "Operation Sankat Mochan" clapped, cheered and shouted 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai" on board an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft.
- Gen. Singh led Op 'Sankat Mochan' to evacuate Indians from South Sudan
- After 30-hour operation, over 150 Indians evacuated in Air Force plane
- 300 Indians have refused to be flown out of Juba, South Sudan capital
After a 30-hour operation, around 156 Indians were on the C-17 cargo plane fitted with special seats, but there were many empty spots. Over 300 Indians have refused to be flown out of Juba, South Sudan's capital, despite the strife and heavy firing.
"Please applaud the IAF (Indian Air Force)," VK Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs, told the rescued families using the public address system.
"Our main effort is that you should be safe...This is an air force plane, seats have been specially installed for you, but it is not so comfortable," he said, smiling encouragingly. In another video, the minister was seen walking from row to row, interacting with the passengers.
"Our aim was to evacuate people from Juba and the outskirts who were telling us that they are in danger. Around 300 do not want to get evacuated because of the business concerns," said Mr Singh.
Anjali, her businessman husband and three-year-old daughter were relieved when they landed at Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram airport on Friday morning. The last few days had been all about cowering from sounds of gunshots.
"There was a lot of firing. We could hear it continuously but we were safe," said Anjali Arun.
"The situation is very bad. We could not come out of our houses because of the firing. We didn't have any food," said Jai Krishnan.
Some want to return to Juba as soon as they can.
"I have had a business there for the last 12 years and I cannot leave everything there. Even now we have ten people taking care of everything there because if we cannot bring back everyone, who will pay money for all the staff?" said Arun.