The outrage in the Kiwi-Indian community is refusing to subside down as more and more people and community leaders are questioning the basis of the abrupt decision of temporary suspension of flights from India.
"Don't Kiwi Indians have the right to return back home?
"Are we not leaving them stateless?" asks an exasperated Rahul Chopra, a young leader in the community closely associated with Chinmaya Mission NZ.
"UK and USA went through the same peak of cases just a few months ago.
"We didn't hear much about the travel ban then," Rahul said.
"Our Prime Minister had then argued that we can't leave our citizens stateless.
"Why should only Kiwi Indians be left stateless then," Rahul said.
"What we are seeing is that the government is acting upon last one month of data in complete disregard of last one year data," Rahul said.
Lack of transparency in the decision
Echoing similar sentiments and raising aspersion on the perceived lack of transparency and consistency in govt's decision making Paramdip Singh, a prominent educationist and Kiwi-Indian community leader from Rotorua, said, "Highest number of travellers Covid cases in NZ are from the UK, but the government still banned the flights/people who are resident/citizen of NZ from India.
"No one knows the actual reason for this decision.
"All Kiwi Indians should unite against this decision. Government has a lot of other options to mitigate the risk, but they have taken the extreme and easy step," Paramdip said.
Why consistency is missing in govt's handling of flights from high-risk areas
Raising the issue of abject lack of consistency in govt's approach, Rahul Chopra further asked, Are the statements like "we cannot leave our citizens stateless" made by the government differ depending on your country of origin?
"It's not a question of race, it's a question of consistency."
"Protecting NZ is 100 per cent a priority, but the reactive and inconsistent approach from the government is not acceptable," Rahul asserted.
Why govt has not explored other options of managing risk
Ajay Bal, an Auckland based immigration consultant and business and community leader, argues that why the government has not explored other options before resorting to this knee-jerk reaction.
"I believe that government's decision to ban travellers from India is over the top," Ajay said.
"Protecting New Zealanders, a priority, and that's how it should be."
"However, there were other possible ways to manage pre-travel covid tests in India.
"Immigration New Zealand has 22 approved panel doctors across all corners of India. One way to avoid fraudulent testing, if that was a concern at all, was to make a rule for travellers from India to get a pre-departure Covid test done from an approved NZ panel Physician," Ajay said.
"Now we have New Zealanders who are stuck in India due to this ban.
"UK released a list of travel ban countries on 9 April 2021, and guess what "India is not on that List," Ajay further asked.
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