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Concerned about Indians in Bahrain, all safe: Foreign secretary

Posted by on February 18, 2011 0 Comment

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) A day after a crackdown on protesters in Bahrain, India Friday said it was keeping tabs on the status of the large Indian community in the Gulf state and noted that all of them were safe.

In her Twitter account, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said India was “concerned about 350,000 Indians in Bahrain”.

“Our ambassador is very alert to this issue and in touch with community reps (representatives),” Rao said through her account on the popular social networking tool.

“At this time, understand that our people are safe,” she assured.

Answering a question whether planes were being put on standby for evacuation, she tweeted back: “We r (are) geared to deal with situation if it arises. No panic, please!”

Rao also confirmed that there was a “standing” invitation to Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to visit India, but no dates had been fixed. “Visit in near future not likely given fluidity of situation,” he said.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash added: “India is closely following the developments in Bahrain… We hope that calm soon returns and prevails in Bahrain.”

At least seven protesters have died over four days of clashes in Bahrain.

Four people were killed early Thursday when police cracked down on sleeping protesters in the Bahrain capital, an action that led to a minister reportedly quitting. By daybreak, tanks were seen rolling down the streets of the restive city swept by the winds of change that began in Tunisia and Egypt.

The pre-dawn attack took place when the protesters were asleep at Pearl Roundabout, the focal point for demonstrators seeking reform in the country that has a constitutional monarchy.

The protests began in Bahrain this week following the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak, 82, in Egypt. The Egypt uprising not only brought an end to Mubarak’s 30-year rule, but also inspired copycat protests in Yemen, Iran and Libya.

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