South Asian students attacked in Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek; EAM Jaishankar, Pakistani counterpart advise students to stay indoors : The Tribune India

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South Asian students attacked in Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek; EAM Jaishankar, Pakistani counterpart advise students to stay indoors

Videos shows Asian looking youngsters being cornered by locals; Jaishankar says situation now calm

South Asian students attacked in Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek; EAM Jaishankar, Pakistani counterpart advise students to stay indoors

Videos showed Asian looking youngsters being cornered by relatively better built locals at what appeared to be night-time.



Tribune News Service

Sandeep Dikshit

New Delhi, May 18

Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan said they were monitoring the welfare of students from their countries who were caught in an all-night confrontation with mobs of local Kyrghiz in the capital of Bishkek leading to arrests from both sides and the deployment of quasi-military forces around the International University of Kyrgyzstan.

“The situation is reportedly calm now. Strongly advise students to stay in regular touch with the Embassy,’’ External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar posted on X.

“The reports of mob attacks on students in the Kyrgyz Republic are extremely concerning,’’ said his Pakistani counterpart Ishaq Dar. Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif has also expressed concern and Pakistan’s Ambassador in Bishkek to provide all necessary help and assistance.

Trouble was brewing between locals and the ample population of expatriate Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indians and Egyptians for the past one week. The genesis was in a brawl that broke out between foreigners and the locals in a hostel of International University of Kyrgyzstan on May 13. The locals alleged that students were sheltering illegals from their home countries.

According to the local authorities, the foreigners got the better of the locals in the brawl which injured 29 and led to detentions on both sides, including of three Egyptians. Tracing the genesis of the latest bout of violence, Kyrghyz officials told the local media that the visible presence of so many foreigners had been irking the locals.

“To some extent, I think yesterday’s demands are correct. In April and May, we identified 20-30 foreigners who are in the country illegally per day. We have already expelled more than 1,500 citizens of Pakistan and 1,000 citizens of Bangladesh. At the same time, about 5,000 illegally staying foreigners remain in the republic,” said the chief of the State Committee for National Security Kamchybek Tashiev.

“But if there is a violation of public order and a threat to the country, then we will take strict measures. We did not see the bad intentions of the audience, but there were provocateurs among them. There were also those who came with weapons. We have already detained such citizens and will bring them to justice,’’ he added.

Videos showed Asian looking youngsters being cornered by relatively better built locals at what appeared to be night-time. Later, mostly Pakistani handles posted images of what they claimed were expatriate students with slight bruises.

Official accounts spoke of repeated attempts by a local mob to break through the police cordon at night, reported media website 24.kg.

The trouble began at 9 pm when over “100 guys gathered who wanted to take revenge on foreigners who beat up local residents.’’

Closer to 11 pm, the policemen tried to disperse the crowd and the first detentions were made.

But at 1 am, the number of protesters increased sharply, to about 1,000 leading to units of “Internal Troops’’ being called in.

After 3 am, the crowd tried to break through the police cordon several times and the situation began to heat up. The head of the Bishkek Police Department, Azamat Toktonaliev, negotiated with the crowd for a long time so that they dispersed and cleared Chui Avenue for the passage of vehicles.

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