Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: A day after 46 Indian nurses freed by Iraqi insurgents reached India, around 200 others reached the national capital on a special flight on Sunday.
The Indians from Najaf reached on a special flight of Iraq Airways which was chartered by the External Affairs Ministry.
At least 400 other stranded Indian national are expected to arrive from Iraq in the next two days.
Around 183 Indians stranded - including 122 nurses from Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were given a grand welcome after they reached India.
While some cried in happiness, others were seen clutching the hands of toddlers, most of them children of these nurses, who for the past nearly three weeks never imagined such an arrival.
Sandra Sebastian, one of the nurses, told the media at Kochi airport that she was very scared when they were taken away by the insurgents.
"... very afraid... will not go back," she said in broken English.
Chandy earlier said that at one point of time, he had lost all hope as the plane did not get permission to land in Erbil because of strong winds.
He thanked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for all her efforts.
Reports earlier said many nurses protested at Erbil airport, saying they won`t board the plane unless they are paid their four months` salary arrears but finally agreed after Indian officials persuaded them.
Another nurse could not hide her happiness on being back with her family. Recounting her story, she said: "Once in Mosul, they put us in a big room and we were given beds and food. We feel that the new government there helped us reach here safely. We thank each and everyone who prayed for our return and also all the authorities who helped us," she said.
The Kerala government made arrangements for the nurses to travel in hired vehicles, while the lone nurse from Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu was provided with a railway ticket to her home town.
Meanwhile, UAE-based Indian businessman B.R. Shetty offered the 46 nurses jobs in hospitals he owns across the Gulf country, Nepal, Bhutan and India. In advertisements in Kerala newspapers, he asked the nurses to contact his office if interested.
(With IANS Inputs)