The Border's close-knit Indian community has been left distraught and feeling like "second-class citizens" in the wake of the Federal Government's Indian travel ban, its local spokesperson Devang Upadhyay claims.
The president of the Albury-Wodonga Indian Australian Association (AWIAA) says the Indian travel ban is hypocritical and causing distress in the local community.
"There haven't been criminal charges for people returning from other countries, they only doubt Indian Australian citizens," Mr Upadhyay said.
"It's a double standard, because you could come back from the UK and US but from India they can't.
"We can't leave them there to die."
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Mr Upadhyay pointed to the Ruby Princess cruise ship as an example of the double standard.
"When the Ruby Princess cruise came to Sydney there was no ban or punishment put on them," he said.
"So why are they doing this to Indian Australians?
"No country in the world thinks it's a crime for one of their citizens to enter their own country."
Mr Upadhyay said everyone in the Border and North East Indian community had a relative affected by COVID in India.
"Every family here has someone who is being impacted by COVID and we're very worried about that," he said.
"We have relatives from Melbourne and Sydney who are trapped in India."
Mr Upadhyay's own mother is stuck there with no way for him or his brother to help her.
"It's our duty to take care of our mother and we're both here," he said.
"My mother took care of me and she believed we would take care of her in her old age, and we can't.
"We can't be good children because of these rules, it feels awful.
"I have four motels, I have the money, but money can't help her.
"If she dies or something happens we can't go to India."
The AWIAA president said while his community understood safety concerns, alternatives such as hotel or island quarantine needed to be found - the same options used for people returning from other countries.
"The travel ban is OK temporarily, when they don't know what the situation is, but now step by step they have to find a way to get people back," he said.
"If the government doesn't want to spend the money, we will."
Mr Upadhyay said the Indian Australian community felt they were being targeted by the government.
"We feel like we're being punished for being Australian citizens," he said.
Currently anyone travelling to or from India could face up to five years in prison or fines of up to $66,000.
Government officials have defended the decision to ban travel to India, saying it was based on expert medical advice.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indi MP Helen Haines and seven other federal MPs demanded the immediate revocation of the ban and urgent repatriation of Australian citizens currently in India.
The letter also demands the establishment of a dedicated surge capacity quarantine facility.