Enroute to Israel Covid stalls journey of 40 from Manipur
NEW DELHI, Jun 3
For over a hundred Bnei Menashe Jews from Manipur going to Israel, Covid-19 proved a damper. On Monday, hours before checking out from their Karol Bagh hotel for Indira Gandhi International Airport, 40 of them tested positive for Covid.
They are currently at Guru Tegh Bahadur Covid Care Centre, managed by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.
Officials at the Covid Centre said the 40 comprised mostly mild cases. However, five were deemed to have severe infection, and Delhi Government transferred them to Lok Nayak Hospital. Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, who is in charge of the Covid Care Centre, said the whole contingent comprised around 125 individuals, including nine children under 12 years.
The Bnei Menashe, numbering nearly 10,000 members, live mostly in Manipur and Mizoram. The Bnei Menashe believe themselves to have descended from the Menasseh tribe, one of Israel’s protohistoric 12 tribes. In the past two decades, members of the Jewish community in India have gradually emigrated to Israel.
“Being of Jewish descent, the group was planning to go to Israel to settle there. Under Israeli law, they are eligible for citizenship,” said Bhullar. “But when undergoing the compulsory test before taking an international flight, 40 of them had positive test results, and they were subsequently sent to our centre.”
The group took their tests on May 28, but the results, including the positive ones, were received on May 30, the day of their flight. At the Covid Care Centre, Bhullar said the Manipuri Jews were keeping themselves entertained and were in high spirits, despite the disappointing turn their plans took. Those who tested negative did not leave India but stayed back and are quarantining in a hotel.
Manjinder Singh Sirsa, president, DSGMC, said only three of the travellers spoke Hindi. Times of India