A charter flight from Romanian Legend Airlines, which took off from Dubai and headed to Nicaragua, stopped on Monday at Vatry, a small French airport located between Reims and Troyes. The plane had to refuel. The French authorities did not allow it to take off again. They received an anonymous tip that something was wrong.
276 of the 303 passengers arrived in Mumbai on Wednesday, returning home to India. 25 passengers remained in France, where they applied for asylum, and two passengers were granted status by French authorities Taemin help, It is a cross between suspect and witness. It is not yet clear what their story is. India is conducting an investigation. But there are doubts.
For example, US authorities have seen an increase in the number of Indians trying to cross the Mexico-US border illegally over the past three years. Between October 2022 and September 2023, the Americans arrested 96,917 people with Indian citizenship, compared to 30,662 Indians in the previous three years.
New smuggling route
This feeds into the idea that human smugglers have taken a new route to use. People leave from India for Central America, and from there they travel further and try to enter the United States or Canada.
The day before the unfortunate flight, the US State Department announced that it would impose visa restrictions on people organizing charter flights to Nicaragua so that migrants could travel from there to the Mexico-US border.
The passengers who arrived in France on Christmas Day, including a number of unaccompanied minors, came from the western Indian state of Gujarat. Now that they are back in India, they will be interrogated. For example, the Indian Immigration Service wants to know whether the children on the plane were alone when they left their home country. Reuters news agency quoted an Indian official as saying that all passengers traveled to Dubai alone on tourist visas. Only in the United Arab Emirates did they meet and board the same plane.
The news agency also contacted Legend Airlines to ask who chartered its plane. Romanian society does not want to answer that.
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