NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday slammed Congress for politicizing the issue of Indians stranded in Sudan amid violence between its military and paramilitary force.
“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,” tweeted Jaishankar in response to Congress leader Siddaramaiah’s tweet that about 31 tribals from Karnataka are stranded in the African country amid the violence between Sudan’s military and the country’s main paramilitary force.
“It is reported that 31 people from Karnataka belonging to Hakki Pikki tribe, are stranded in Sudan which is troubled by civil war. I urge @PMOIndia@narendramodi, @HMOIndia, @MEAIndia and @BSBommai to immediately intervene & ensure their safe return,” tweeted Siddaramaiah.
He said that Hakki Pikkis in Sudan are left stranded without food for the last few days and the government is yet to initiate action to bring them back.
“@BJP4India govt should immediately open diplomatic discussions & reach out to international agencies to ensure the well-being of Hakki Pikkis,” tweeted Siddaramaiah.
Responding to the tweets, Jaishankar lashed out at Siddaramaiah for divulging the details and locations of the Hakki Pikki tribe which may threaten their security.
“Their details and locations cannot be made public for security reasons. Their movement is constrained by fierce fighting that is ongoing. 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 politicize their situation. No electoral goal justifies endangering Indians abroad,” tweeted Jaishankar.
Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah tweeted, “It is also unfortunate to know that we have lost one Indian & 60 others in the ongoing civil war in Sudan. My deepest condolences to their families and pray for the peace in the region.”
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also lashed out at the Centre and the Karnataka government, alleging that they left the tribals “to their fate”.
“31 Kannadigas of Hakki Pikki Tribe have been left stranded in the civil war in Sudan. The Anti-Kannadiga Modi Govt has left them to their fate, instead of evacuating & ensuring their safe return. Where are Mr. Prahlad Joshi & Shobha Karandlaje & BJP MP’s? Shame on you Mr Bommai,” tweeted Surjewala.
The Indian Embassy in Sudan on Tuesday issued a precautionary advisory against venturing out, suggesting to ration supplies as the “situation may continue for a few more days.”
“We have come across many instances of looting. All Indian nationals are advised please not to venture out. Please ration your supplies. The situation may continue for a few more days. Please try to take help from your neighbours. Please stay at home and remain safe,” tweeted the Embassy of India in Khartoum.
On Monday, the Ministry of External Affairs, in view of the current clashes between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), set up a Control Room to provide information and assistance to Indians.
“In view of the current situation in Sudan, a Control Room has been set up at the Ministry of External Affairs to provide information and assistance,” read the MEA press release.
On Sunday an Indian national working in a Dal Group Company in Sudan’s Khartoum was hit by a stray bullet.
Sharing details about the deceased Indian national, Indian Embassy in Sudan tweeted, ” It has been reported that Mr Albert Augestine, an Indian National working in a Dal Group Company in Sudan who got hit by a stray bullet yesterday succumbed to his injuries. The embassy is in touch with family and medical authorities to make further arrangements.”
As many as 180 civilians have been killed while more than 1,800 civilians and combatants have been injured in fighting between Sudan’s military and the country’s main paramilitary force, according to the United Nations envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes, The New York Times reported.
According to NYT, the fighting has left many of the five million residents of the capital, Khartoum, stranded at home without electricity or water as they marked the last few days of Ramzan, the Muslim holy month when many fast daily from dawn until dusk.
A European Union ambassador was assaulted by the members of the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group inside his residence in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan on Monday afternoon, two Western officials said, according to a New York Times report.
The EU’s ambassador to Sudan, Aidan O’Hara, is a diplomat from Ireland, and was not injured after armed men barged in, threatened him at gunpoint and stole money, said the officials on the condition of anonymity for security reasons, reported New York Times.
The military has been in charge of Sudan since a 2021 coup that derailed the country’s path to democracy.
The armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been competing for power as political factions negotiate on forming a transitional government after a 2021 military coup.
The tensions stem from a disagreement between the military, headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the RSF, led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, about how the paramilitary force should be integrated into the armed forces and what authority should oversee that process, according to Al Jazeera.
18 months after its coup, the military promised to cede control to a civilian-led government this month. Yet, the process has been dominated by a rivalry between General al-Burhan and General Hamdan, also known as Hemeti.
The two generals have been openly criticising one another in speeches over the past few months. They have dispatched reinforcements and armoured vehicles to oppose military camps spread around the city. (ANI)