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Jaishankar asks Siddaramaiah not to politicise issue of K’taka tribals’ evacuation from Sudan

New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday expressed displeasure at Congress leader and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, asking him not to politicise the incident of evacuation of 31 tribals from the state, who are stuck in violence-hit Sudan.

Replying to a series of tweets earlier in the day by the Congress leader, who blamed the central government for not doing enough to ensure the safe return of the tribals stuck in the African nation, Jaishankar said that he was “appalled” at his response.

“Simply appalled at your tweet! There are lives at stake; don’t do politics. Since the fighting started on April 14th, the Embassy of India in Khartoum has been continuously in touch with most Indian nationals and PIOs in Sudan,” the External Affairs Minister tweeted while tagging Siddaramaiah’s earlier comments on Twitter.

“Plans regarding them have to take into account a very complicated security scenario. The Embassy is in constant touch with the Ministry in that regard. It is grossly irresponsible of you to politicise their situation. No electoral goal justifies endangering Indians abroad,” Jaishankar tweeted further, adding that “Their (tribals’) details and locations cannot be made public for security reasons. Their movement is constrained by fierce fighting that is ongoing.”

Incidentally, the social media slugfest between the two leaders took place at a time when political temperatures in Karnataka are on the rise, with assembly elections scheduled to take place there on May 10.

Congress leader Siddaramaiah had earlier appealed to the Centre, seeking safe return of a group of 31 tribals from the state, who are stranded in violence-hit Sudan.

“It is reported that 31 people from the state belonging to Hakki Pikki tribe are stranded in Sudan which is troubled by civil war,” Siddaramaiah had said in a series of tweets.

“I urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Ministry, Ministry of External Affairs and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to immediately intervene and ensure their safe return,” Siddaramaiah said.

“Hakki Pikki in Sudan are left stranded without food since the last few days and the government is yet to initiate action to bring them back. BJP government should open diplomatic discussions and reach out to international agencies to ensure the well-being of Hakki-Pikkis,” he had posted.

“It is also unfortunate to know that we have lost one Indian and 60 others in the ongoing civil war in Sudan. My deepest condolences to their families and pray for the peace in the region,” Siddaramaiah’s tweet read.

The tribals from the state had gone to Sudan for business.

–IANS
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