Indian rifle shooter, husband stuck in Zambia for over a month

Aayushi Gupta and her husband Saksham
Aayushi Gupta and her husband Saksham

A business-come-pleasure trip for Indian rifle shooter Aayushi Gupta and her husband Saksham has turned into a nightmare.

The couple, which got married in January, has been stuck in Zambia’s Lusaka for over a month now with little hope of knowing when or how they will be able to plan their journey back to India.

They were booked to return on March 27 but the Indian Government announced on March 19 that from March 22 no flights would land in India.

Failing to get any flights, the duo approached the Indian High Commission to get help. But no help has come their way yet and they are running on fumes.

After their visas expired on March 27 they had to apply for temporary residency permit.

They had to move into a service apartment. The expenses have run up to Rs 2.5 lakh (Indian Rupees) =61,248.41 Zambian Kwacha in a month.

And with cases rising in Lusaka, at least 10 new cases were confirmed on Saturday, the couple’s worries are only rising.

“We tried to buy tickets to rush back but nothing was available. All the flights were booked,” Aayushi, who has represented India at the World University Games, Junior World Cup, told The Tribune.

“The cases are rising here and we were told by a cab driver that the number of Covid-19 cases in Lusaka is far more that it is being revealed. We are not very sure of the medical facilities here. We are taking a big risk when we step out to buy groceries. What will happen if we get infected? We are very scared,” the 25-year-old added.

Countless mails and reminders to the Indian High Commission, Ministry of External Affairs and even to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath — Aayushi represents UP in national shooting competitions — have not borne any result.

“The only reply we have received is a forwarded message from MEA’s Covid-19 helpline. They have basically forwarded our email ids to the high commission here. So basically it is nothing as we have been dealing with the high commission staff for a month and nothing has come our way in terms of a plan or a solution,” Saksham Gupta, who runs a consultancy firm for major education institutions, said.

Aayushi said the rising costs are another worry. “We came here on a budget. And now we are exhausting our savings. The situation is only adding to the anxieties of our families as they want us back soon,” she said.

Saksham suspects that there are only 10 Indians whose visas were expiring on or after the day the lockdown began and that is why they are not being heard. “I may be wrong but I think that is the case as I don’t see any interest from the staff here to help. We are getting desperate to come back. All we need is to give us some hope or an extraction plan, things we need to do like reach a neighbouring country where the numbers of Indians waiting to go back home are higher so that a plane can be arranged… something like that,” he added.

Tribune News Service


  1. You will be fine in Zambia. Just treat the people with respect. Next time, just travel with more money.

    60,000 is loose change.

  2. Very sensationalist reporting from the Tribune news service and also disappointing for Lusaka times editor to just copy and paste this article. Very irresponsible. There is nothing nightmarish about their experience in Zambia. In fact their holiday has been extended albeit at their own expense. Their country clearly is the problem if they can’t help their own citizen. If I was them I would be thinking twice returning to a country that didn’t help me in my time of need. They are safer here than in India with high population and poor sanitation. Covid is having a party there in those conditions. Kz

  3. There are many well wisher Zambians who can help you financially. Zambians are very friendly and generous people.
    Just relax and you will fly when
    Time is right after the lockdown.

  4. Why is this even news…there were Zambians stuck in China, you didnt even name them now these well off that are stuck here are writing paragraphs as if its Zambia’s problem.

  5. But why travel at the height of the pandemic, with all the advice going around as early as February/early March you chose to ignore the experts?
    Best thing right now is for well wishers to assist in accommodation and food supplies. Sad development

  6. Rifle-shooter? Are they one of those trophy hunters who like to pose with dead Lions or Elephants? Not really the kind of tourists I would like to see in Zambia if you ask me. Life has a way of making us pay back our dues. Maybe this experience will erase their tourist fantasy about Zambia and show them the real values of the land and the people.

  7. When it comes to money most Indians are not honest. However there are many Indians who can assist except they’ve a bad culture of the chaste system. If he’s Hindu the Muslims won’t help him, worse if he’s not a Patel then Hindus might not help him. Let him just find a job in Kamwala

  8. Just rent a flat ku chalala for 2,500. Why waste all that money. get advice from Kamwala Madras

  9. Why these Indians spending money? Go to Inonge Wina’s house, she will cars for you, don’t go to Edgar’s wife.
    Indians went to Pakistan and brought coronavirus to Lusaka, and none of them died. You Indians are safer to be in Zambia than in your Mumbai. Stay in Zambia permanently.

  10. Jason – Holidays in African safari especially in Zambia honeymoon are not cheap you are talking minimum £2500 for 5 days per person so if you book that you can’t just cancel and expect a refund…these are well off people, they are even worried about covid-19 when its worse in India and they dont trust your health facilities.

  11. There is Madras in Kamwala. Let him and his girl find his relatives there. He can assist in managing a shop in Kamawala old town.

  12. Poor lower caste Indians were trapped in the main cities and evicted from their cardboard homes by their landlords because of lockdown they had to walk 100s of kilometres to their villages they didnt have this luxury….with so many well off Indians in Zambia I am surprised these folk are getting news from taxi drivers.

  13. chester – even Zambia has immigration laws cant just start working on tourist visa!!

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