M A I N   N E W S

78 Indians evacuated from Osh, taken to Kyrgyz capital

New Delhi, June 14
Amid spiralling ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan, the Indian mission on Monday night safely evacuated 77 Indian students and one professor from Osh to the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek. Efforts are on to get around 38 Indians from Osh to Jalalabad, sources in the External Affairs Ministry said.

All the Indians are safe, the sources added. The evacuation was done with the help of the Kyrgyz government. India’s ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Jyoti Swarup Pande is monitoring the developments and met officials of the Kyrgyz foreign office and sought assurances over the safety of Indian students. Around 116 Indians were feared trapped in the riot-hit former Soviet republic.

“All efforts and all options are being considered to ensure their safe passage back home," government sources said on Monday. The airlifting could be an option, but it will depend on the ground situation, the sources added.

In the worst ethnic violence in decades, at least 124 people have been killed and more than 1,685 wounded in southern Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyz health ministry said on Monday.

The plight of the Indians, mostly medical students, has sparked widespread concern in India. The Bharatiya Janata Party asked the government to ensure the safe passage of trapped students.

“We are concerned about the situation in Kyrgyzstan. Many of our children are there. We want their safety and we want the government of India to arrange safety passage for them,” BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters.

Earlier on Monday, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement here that 15 students were stranded in Jalalabad and 99 students, a professor and a businessman, in Osh.

“Our mission is in close and regular touch with several Indian nationals as well as with relevant departments of the Kyrgyz government, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and security agencies,” said the ministry. “Everything possible is being done to ensure the safety and well-being of the Indian nationals within the constraints posed by the difficult ground situation.” — IANS

Ethnic trouble

Kyrgyzstan is suffering the worst ethnic riots in 20 years, which have killed at least 124 people and left cities in flames.

Tensions between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks have erupted before, and appear to have been reignited by the ouster of the president in April.

Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have repeatedly clashed over land and water in the fertile Fergana Valley, which Stalin divided among Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.





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