Why German stuck at Delhi’s IGI airport turned down offer to go home
The officials said that the man, Edgard Ziebat, has said he will leave India as soon as international flights resume after the national lockdown, and wants to stay at the airport until then.Updated: May 12, 2020 13:07 IST
A 40-year-old German who has been living in the transit area of the Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport for the last 55 days turned down an offer go to his home country, and was recently served a “Leave India Notice” by authorities, according to officials familiar with the matter.
The officials said that the man, Edgard Ziebat, has said he will leave India as soon as international flights resume after the national lockdown, and wants to stay at the airport until then.
HT reported on Monday that Ziebat has been living in the airport since March 18, after he arrived in New Delhi from Hanoi as a transit passenger on his way to Istanbul. March 18 was the day India banned all flights to Turkey to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Four days later, India banned all international flights. Stranded, Ziebat could neither exit India, nor the airport’s transit area, because he does not have an Indian visa.
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An airport official indicated that Ziebat, who has not applied for an Indian visa, was unlikely to get one even if he did because of a prior criminal record in Germany.
A spokesman for the German embassy in New Delhi told HT on Monday that Ziebat was offered a passage back to Germany, but he declined the offer.
A spokesperson for the embassy said it was “aware of the situation and in contact with relevant authorities and the person in question”. “We have repeatedly offered him a passage back to Germany but he turned down our offers,” the spokesperson added.
A second official from the Delhi airport who asked not to be named said Ziebat was issued a Leave India Notice. “He was asked to make arrangements for his departure from the country,” said the officer, adding that the notice was served because an international passenger can normally stay in transit for just one day according to Indian laws.
The officer said that Ziebat assured them he will leave as soon as possible, but is waiting for the flight operation to resume. They have found that he has visas of multiple countries, the officer added.
Last week, Indian authorities had tried to accommodate Ziebat on a relief flight to Ankara, but Turkish authorities refused to accept him onboard since the flight was only for their citizens or permanent card holders.
For the last 55 days, Ziebat has mostly spent his days reading magazines and newspapers, talking to his friends and family ones over phone, eating at some of the fast food outlets when they operational within the terminal, interacting with housekeeping and security staff, taking walks within the transit area, and using the airport’s washrooms.
He has been provided with a recliner, mosquito net, toothpaste, food and other basic essentials by the authorities, a third airport official said.