Following an anonymous tip-off suggesting potential human trafficking, approximately 300 Indian passengers aboard a Nicaragua-bound Airbus A340 have faced detention at Vatry airport, situated 150 kilometers east of Paris, since their arrival from Dubai on Thursday.
The unfolding scenario prompted French authorities to take action, detaining the aircraft and its occupants to ascertain the circumstances of their travel. Four French judges commenced interrogations on Sunday, aiming to ascertain the “conditions and purposes” of the passengers’ journey. They have been granted a two-day window to complete these inquiries.
While the judges retain the authority to prolong the detention, French judicial sources anticipate the passengers’ release by late Monday morning at the latest. However, no specific destination was disclosed by Paris prosecutors.
Among the passengers held at the airport are 11 unaccompanied minors, as confirmed by Paris prosecutors. Additionally, two individuals have faced extended detention for investigation into potentially distinctive roles in the transportation process.
Reportedly, ten passengers have sought asylum, as disclosed by a source closely associated with the case.
The detained individuals, relegated to the airport premises, have been provided basic facilities, including individual beds, toilets, and showers, per information from the local prefecture.
Amidst the ongoing situation, the Indian embassy in Paris has confirmed their engagement with French authorities to ensure the welfare and timely resolution of the detained passengers’ predicament.
However, the 30 crew members associated with the aircraft have not faced detention. Some crew members managed the Dubai-Vatry leg, while others were slated to continue the journey to Managua. According to Flightradar24, the operating company, Legend Airlines, operates with just four aircraft.
Insights from the inquiry hint at the possibility that certain Indian passengers might have been workers in the United Arab Emirates, potentially utilizing Nicaragua as a transit point en route to destinations such as the United States or Canada.
As the French authorities proceed with investigations, the detained passengers eagerly await clarity and resolution, hopeful for an expedited departure from Vatry airport.
The evolving circumstances continue to raise questions regarding the purpose of travel for these Indian passengers, as authorities aim to conclude their inquiries and provide necessary support to the detained individuals.
Sources By Agencies