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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - By Hassan Cheruppa
JEDDAH — An unprecedented rush of Indian nationals at the premises of the Consulate General and the subsequent intervention of Saudi authorities on Tuesday have prompted the consulate authorities to suspend the direct consular services until further notice.
The Indian Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate General in Jeddah announced earlier that they would accept applications for passport and passport-related services from Indian nationals directly from May 5 onward. This was in view of the inability to reopen the Indian Passport and Visa Application Centers run by VFS Global despite the partial relaxation of curfew, which was enforced earlier as part of precautionary measures to stem the spread of coronavirus.
It was announced earlier in a press statement that Indian nationals who are in urgent need of these services would be entertained and that prior appointment for submission of application is mandatory for the provision of the service. However, those who gathered in front of the Consulate on Tuesday included even those who did not secure prior appointment. Eventually, the Saudi authorities rejected the request for resumption of direct consular services from the Consulate.
In a statement, the consulate assured all the Indian nationals residing in the western region of Saudi Arabia that valid travel documents would be issued to them to facilitate their travel as and when the flights to India become operational. It also appealed to all Indian nationals residing under the Consulate’s jurisdiction to comply with the directives issued by the Saudi Ministry of Health and other law enforcement agencies regarding safety precautions to be taken to check the spread of coronavirus.
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