Canadian couple stuck in India after travelling to adopt baby girl
TORONTO -- Hari Gopal Garg and his wife Komal Garg have been stuck in India since Ottawa banned flights from the country, which has been overwhelmed by its second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Gargs travelled to India to finalize the adoption of a 14-month-old girl, and had completed paperwork to return to Canada just days before flights were banned.
“We were just two days away from our flight, and it was disappointing that the Canadian government didn't give us any time, as other countries did,” Hari told CTV News Channel in an interview on Monday.
He said part of the trouble with trying to return to Canada is receiving only automated email responses from government officials.
“I'm getting only automated emails from them saying that ‘you need to take a different route to a third country,’” Hari added.
Many surrounding countries have travel bans in place on flights from India, so the Gargs aren’t able to find a way to a third-party country to begin their journey home.
The Government of Canada has a global travel advisory advising all Canadians to avoid any non-essential travel outside of the country until further notice.
For the Gargs, going to India to adopt their baby girl seemed essential. They had begun the process four years ago, and were just two days away from a new life when the travel ban kicked in.
“Finally, last year we got confirmation in August that there is a baby available,” said Hari. “We immediately said yes, and it took many months to process the work. Finally I came in March to take custody of the baby and to bring her home, and our flight was on April 25.”
They had their bags packed and sights set on home when the flight ban went into effect.
“I know they banned the flights to save the Canadians, but we are also Canadians and who will protect us in this situation?” Hari said.
“We want to have the baby safe, which is very difficult, and the condition in India is not good.”