Starving, can’t step out: Indian students’ SOS from Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek : The Tribune India

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Starving, can’t step out: Indian students’ SOS from Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek

2,000 students from Punjab, Haryana stuck

Starving, can’t step out: Indian students’ SOS from Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek

Video grabs



Tribune News Service

Sumedha Sharma

Gurugram, May 21

“For the past three days, I have been surviving on tea and cucumbers. Nothing is normal here. We have been ‘locked inside’ since May 17. Many students like me don’t cook and eat from outside. They are starving now. On May 19, I tried getting some food from KFC. Local guys standing there chased me and hit me. I haven’t stepped out since then,” says Waquar, a sixth-year medical student in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek.

“I can’t order online as delivery boys take money from local gangs and disclose our locations. I want to go home but the landlord refuses to let me go till I give her rent for the next three months. Our parents are arranging air tickets for us, but the problem is how do we get to the airport,” he says.

While sharing his ordeal with The Tribune on a WhatsApp call, Waquar is startled by a thud on his door. Scared, he peeps through the door only to find a kind Russian neighbour giving him bananas.

This is not a one odd case as an estimated 10,000 Indian students in Bishkek, including over 2,000 from Punjab and Haryana, are in panic and confined to their homes due to mob violence. The students claim they have been getting warnings from their colleges and “student contractors” to stay quiet and not share anything on the social media as it will impact the influx of new students from India in the next admission season, which is just a month away.

While the mob violence on roads has subsided, Indian students claim they are targeted whenever they step out. Fearing an attack, many landlords are forcing them to shift while others are trying to cash in on the situation by raising the rent.

Students say they have been getting no help from the local embassy helpline and have moved the Indian Government through their local MLAs and associations such as the Indian-Foreign Medical Students Association (IFMSA) seeking flights back home and online classes for the next semester. Some universities have reportedly announced online classes.

“It’s a lie that they targeted only Pakistanis. They have issued a diktat to us not to step out. In case we have to go out to get food and medicines, they abuse us in Russian and hit us,” says Dinesh, a sixth-year student from Ateli in Haryana. He adds that local teachers at times help them and some colleges are even accommodating students in hostels, “but everybody can’t be there”. “The situation is not normal and when we call the embassy to seek security to travel to the airport, they ask us to speak to student contractors,” he says.

A couple of women students whose identity is yet to be verified have posted voice messages on a social media group formed by local Indian students highlighting their plight. Indian students have now started sending their visuals to Indian YouTuber Dhruv Rathee. Dr Apurv of the IFMSA said, “The situation is under control in Kyrgyzstan and there is no mass mob violence. The Indian Government has taken steps but students are in panic and are contacting us. We have communicated their fears to the government.”

2,000 students from Punjab, Haryana stuck

  • An estimated 10,000 Indian students in Bishkek, including over 2,000 from Punjab and Haryana, are in panic and confined to their homes following mob violence
  • The students claim they have been getting warnings from their colleges and “student contractors” to stay quiet and not share their ordeal on the social media

Remain vigilant: MEA

The Indian Embassy in Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday posted on X that the situation in Bishkek was ‘normal’. It said, “The situation continues to remain normal. Students are, however, advised to remain vigilant and follow the guidelines laid down by the authorities in Kyrgyz Republic.”

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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