An Airbus 340, carrying approximately 276 Indian passengers, successfully landed in Mumbai early Tuesday, December 26, morning after facing a four-day grounding in France over suspected human trafficking concerns.
The 'dunki' flight, operated by Romanian company Legend Airlines, had initially departed from Dubai and made a stopover at Vatry airport, 150 km east of Paris.
The "donkey/dunki route" refers to a bunch of illegal and often tough routes taken by illegal migrants to enter the United States, Canada and Western Europe. One of the routes to Europe was shown in Sha Rukh Khan's recent movie 'Dunki'. Migrants navigate through challenging topography, relying on human smugglers, known as "coyotes," to guide them across borders in their quest for a better life.
- Initially carrying 303 passengers, the flight saw 27 passengers opting to remain in France, including two minors who applied for asylum, reported PTI.
- The flight was bound for Nicaragua a Central American country before it was detained at the Fresnch airport for alleged human trafficking on Thursday. December 21.
- The aircraft received clearance to resume its journey on Sunday, December 25, eventually touching down in Mumbai around 4 am on Tuesday.
- The Indian Embassy in France expressed gratitude to French authorities for resolving the situation promptly.
- The detained passengers faced a judicial investigation, with two individuals held and subsequently released on assisted witness status.
- The suspicion of human trafficking arose from an anonymous tip received by French authorities, suggesting the involvement of an organised gang.
- Reports suggest that some passengers might have strategically planned the trip to reach Central America, with potential intentions to enter the United States or Canada illegally.
- The airline, Legend Airlines, denied any involvement in human trafficking.
- Human trafficking in France carries severe penalties, with a potential sentence of up to 20 years.
- Two men were taken into custody on suspicion of playing a role in a possible illegal immigration ring on Sunday. December 24.
- The detention was extended for up to 48 hours as the investigation unfolded.
- According to a French official, "The hearings were conducted as part of the investigation opened by the Paris prosecutor's office on the suspicion of human trafficking."