New Delhi, March 1
The unfolding Ukraine crisis continued to cause untold anguish to hundreds of families amid their seemingly endless wait for the trapped kin even as some Indian students returned home and recalled “the living hell they left behind”.
“It was a living hell,” said Delhi-based Subhanshu who returned on one of the evacuation flights on Tuesday.
Surrounded by family, the student said he could never in his life forget the way some Ukrainian troops assaulted Indian students with boots and guns, prioritising their own nationals on the border crossing.
“What happened cannot be described in words. We were in Vinnytsia when the Russians attacked. Reaching the Romanian border was not difficult as local contractors had arranged buses for us and we walked only about 12 km. But what happened on the Ukraine-Romania border was horrifying. The Ukraine troops would not let us pass. For them the sole priority was their own nationals,” said the boy, among several who came back under Operation Ganga today.
Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya greeted the arrivals at Delhi airport, presenting them with flowers. But the returnees looked listless, eager to reunite with families and go back to the safety of homes.
Outside the airport emotions ran high, with Subhanshu’s mother not leaving her son’s side.
“I saw how Indians students were being hit with guns and boots. Students even jostled with each other to get past the Border. Once we crossed over, the Indian Embassy took over and life changed. We got food, five star shelter and comfort on an onward journey,” said the boy.
Not everyone got so lucky though with several families continuing to await the return of wards.
Jalandhar-based Monika Batra spent the day sending serial SOSs to the PMO and posting tweets for help. Her daughter remains trapped in Kharkiv along with 500 others.
As the news of a student dying in Kharkiv broke, Batra’s anguish mounted.
“When will the PMO respond to my pleas? After something happens to my daughter? The children are all first year students. They do not even know the way to the train station and have no guidance. Where should they go? The city is being shelled. They are all under grave danger,” she told The Tribune, pleading for help as the government readied C-17s to fly for the evacuation mission.
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