Former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor hit out at the Ministry of External Affairs for denying Kerala minister KT Jaleel a diplomatic passport to coordinate welfare efforts in Saudi Arabia.
Tharoor took to Twitter to lash out at the MEA for its “deplorable behaviour” and asked, “Why shouldn’t affected state send minister to see to the welfare of its citizens?”
Urging External Affairs Minister to intervene, Tharoor wondered, “Is this co-operative federalism?”
Jaleel, Kerala’s Local Self Government Minister was to fly to Saudi Arabia to coordinate efforts after hundreds of Indians including Keralites. Hundreds of workers are holed up in labour camps in the Gulf Kingdom, many of them being denied salaries and finding it tough to get food and water, following the financial problems being faced by a few Saudi Arabian companies.
Jaleel on Thursday evening told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that he was surprised by the turn of events.
"We were expecting to fly out to Saudi Arabia the moment my visit was cleared. When we checked out on the website, we were surprised to see that my application for a diplomatic passport was denied. It's too early to say if there was a political motive behind the denial," he said
Jaleel had planned to arrive first at Jeddah and had already established contact with various Kerala cultural organisations there who were to assist him.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh is in Saudi Arabia to coordinate with Saudi officials to air lift Indians wishing to return.
(With inputs from IANS)