Flight that was detained in France finally reaches Mumbai; flyers questioned | India News – Times of India

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MUMBAI: The charter flight detained by French authorities last Thursday for carrying Indian passengers who were suspected to be victims of human trafficking landed in Mumbai on Tuesday, with 276 out of the original 303 flyers on board.
Two passengers who were detained last week by the French authorities for investigation were released by a French court on Monday, according to media reports. A number of passengers sought asylum and stayed back. Among those who remained in France were unaccompanied minors, including a 21-month-old child.
The flight, which was repeatedly delayed, landed in Mumbai at 4.15 am. “The passengers were interrogated by the immigration and law-enforcing agencies,” said a source. They were inside the airport terminal for 3-4 hours after arrival and were then allowed to go. Most of the passengers were young men from the state of Punjab, carrying a single piece of luggage. When they stepped out of the terminal building, they avoided mediapersons, covered their faces and refused to speak.
Last Thursday, the A340 charter flight operated by Romanian carrier Legend Airlines was bound for Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, the largest country in central America.
Following a tip-off about the plane carrying suspected victims of human trafficking, the “donkey flight” was stopped by the French authorities when it made a technical halt at Chalons-Vatry airport in north-eastern France. The term “donkey flight” (“dunki” in Punjabi) refers to a modus operandi in which illegal immigrants travel to a third country that grants easy access and from there leave for their final destination, helped by “agents”. The term has been used to refer to Indian and Pakistani migrants who have followed this method to illegally enter the US, UK and Canada.
After the aircraft was detained in France, the reception area at Vatry airport was transformed into a waiting space with separate beds to ensure optimal passenger accommodation, said reports. Another report, citing French judicial sources, said that the authorities there were no longer probing for potential people trafficking but have launched a probe to see if there was violation of immigration laws.
The Legend Airlines flight was scheduled to depart for India early on Monday after the French authorities completed legal formalities. The Indian embassy in France thanked French authorities on the social media platform X for “quick resolution of the situation”. But the departure was delayed after some passengers were reportedly unhappy over their return to India. Media reports said they preferred to continue to Nicaragua as planned.

First Visuals of Airbus A340 held in France with 303 Indians, lands in Mumbai

Watch Airbus A340 with 303 Indians held in France over trafficking concerns, lands in Mumbai


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