On fresh advisory, 1,000 walk to Kharkiv suburb : The Tribune India

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On fresh advisory, 1,000 walk to Kharkiv suburb

1,600 more on way, most without food; denied entry on trains

On fresh advisory, 1,000 walk to Kharkiv suburb

Indians wait to board a train at the Kharkiv Metro station.

Tribune News Service

Aparna Banerji

Jalandhar, March 3

Following the Indian Government’s fresh advisory, around 1,000 students have made it to Pesochin, a western suburb of Ukraine’s Kharkiv city, on foot since last night. The Centre had asked its nationals stranded in the country’s second largest city to head to Pesochin, Babaye and Bezlyudovka.

Act of kindness

Amid the chaos, some Ukrainians are going out of the way to help Indians, who aren’t being allowed on trains by locals. “At Kharkiv station, my daughter, Jashmeen Kaur (in pic), befriended an elderly woman who waited along with her family to board a train. When Ukrainians got food for their people, the woman insisted on giving it to Indians too. That’s the only meal my daughter had since she left her bunker,” said Tejinder Kaur.

Stranded in a heavily bombed area near Kharkiv with no lights or phones, the students now await a ride out. They are putting up in two hostels and parents claimed an additional 1,600 Indian students were expected to arrive by evening.

Thousands of students had been desperately trying to board a train out of Kharkiv for the past two days, but with no success, prompting them to head to the nearest of the three sites — Pesochin — walking in sub-zero temperatures amidst heavy shelling.

Tejinder Kaur, whose daughter Jashmeen Kaur (19), pursuing second-year in medicine, said: “It was after eight days that my daughter slept on a bed last night. She tried all day yesterday to board a train out of Kharkiv, but couldn’t. After the advisory, their consultant Karan went ahead to make arrangements for students at Pesochin. Around 1,000 students walked two hours in

the rain, having a close shave as one of the shells landed nearby, to reach Pesochin last evening. Power was suspended and they were asked to put their phones in airplane mode. They haven’t eaten anything since last night. Despite assurance, no food had been arranged. Another 1,600 kids are on way.”

She said: “Some students were even assaulted with sticks as they tried to board trains at Kharkiv yesterday. In the commotion, their belongings were left behind. They are putting up in five hostels at Pesochin. We expect them to head out shortly.”

Kuldeep Singh, father of Ekamdeep Singh from Kapurthala, said: “Around 500 of them tried hard to head out in trains but in vain, forcing them to walk to Pesochin. Ekamdeep hasn’t eaten anything so far. They have been prohibited from posting anything or sharing photos.”

Meanwhile, two education consultants Karan Sandhu and Hardeep Singh are with students, helping them out.

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