Indian government restricts travel to Yemen
New Delhi: After the long effort that led to rescue of abducted Father Tom Uzhunnalil from Yemen, the Indian government has now restricted all travel of Indian nationals to Yemen and made Indian passports and travel documents invalid for travel to Yemen.
Father Tom was abducted on March 4, 2016 in an incident of terrorist attack in Aden by an unidentified group and was finally rescued and brought to India on September 28 this year and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the external affairs minister.
Father Tom travelled to Yemen in 2015 despite the government’s advisory to not travel due to adverse security situation there. The government now in an order says despite these advisories, some Indians have continued to travel to Yemen.
“It is necessary and expedient in the public interest so to do, hereby the following directions, namely: the passport or travel document issued by the Central Government is invalid for the travel of holder to Yemen as the travel of the holder to Yemen would seriously impair the conduct of foreign affairs of the Government of India; any Indian national who travels to Yemen in violation of this notification, shall be liable for action and the passport shall be liable for impounding or revocation,” the latest order says.
The order says that any violation of the direction by any passport holder shall be liable for refusal of passport for a period of seven years from the date of revocation of such passport.
“Any Recruiting Agent or a Company sending Indian nationals to Yemen shall be individually or collectively held responsible, and all such Agents or Company, including all its Directors, shall personally be liable to be prosecuted under the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code, if the Indian nationals so sent are killed or kidnapped or come to any harm, while travelling to Yemen. Criminal proceedings also may be initiated against owners of the foreign ships carrying Indian nationals to Yemen and visas shall be denied to them for any future travel to India,” the order further says.
Indian government officials can still travel to Yemen for attending their official duties. At an express request of an applicant, the directions may be relaxed by the government for specific and essential reasons of travel but the applicant would, nevertheless, travel at his or her own personal risk without any liability to the Government of India or any State Government concerned. The government in the order says the security situation in Yemen continues to be fragile with armed hostilities continuing in parts of the country and Yemen remains vulnerable from this view.