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We want to return home: Indian students in Kyrgyzstan's Bishkek

Speaking to DH from Bishkek, Indian students pursuing medicine and residing in the hostels expressed that while they currently feel safe, they are concerned about the situation.
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 22:07 IST
Last Updated : 20 May 2024, 22:07 IST

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Hyderabad: Indian students in Kyrgyzstan's capital city, Bishkek, who were caught unaware of the mob violence unleashed by locals, want to come back home.

Speaking to DH from Bishkek, Indian students pursuing medicine and residing in the hostels expressed that while they currently feel safe, they are concerned about the situation. Locals target students living in private apartments whenever they go out, even for grocery shopping.

These students are urging the university authorities to continue the academic year, which has just five weeks left, through online classes. They are also seeking help from Indian authorities for safe passage.

“At the moment, we are safe. We are grateful to our university authorities, who promptly responded to our SOS calls and remained with us throughout the night, acting as if they were a 'protective force'. We are forever thankful to them. However, we are anxious about transitioning out. It's only five weeks left in the present academic year. Given the current situation, the university authorities have announced that classes will be conducted online for the coming week. The extension of the classes to four more weeks is possible. We are also seeking help from Indian authorities to help us go to the airport safely and board a flight," said Gandi Someswara Rao from Rajam in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, a fifth-year medical student at Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University (KRSU).

It all started with a group of locals clashing with Egyptian students on May 13, which led to attacks on foreign students. Apart from Indian students, there are a few Arabs, Egyptians, and Pakistanis studying at various universities in Bishkek.

“Last evening, someone continuously banged on our doors. We didn't open the doors. Later, they dumped some waste in front of our apartment and left. We are scared to live here. The government should intervene and do something,” a Hyderabad-based youth studying sixth-year medicine and living in a private apartment told DH.

In certain instances, students have moved out of their hostels and taken up residence in the classrooms at their respective universities.

“It's been five years that I have been living in Bishkek, and I never faced such a situation. There used to be minor skirmishes, but never at such a scale,” another medical student from Srikakulam said.

These students are also requesting the respective varsity management to allow online or physical exams in September, when the next academic year begins, in the hopes that tensions may have subsided by then.

DH's interactions with several students in Bishkek revealed that the cost of the six-year log medicine course is what attracted them to this central Asian country.

“The fees and hostel expenses for the entire six years come to just Rs 30 lakhs,” Someswara Rao told DH.

An estimated 9,000 Indian students, mainly from Telugu states, are studying in Bishkek.

“Following the attacks on foreign students, including Indians pursuing medicine courses in Kyrgyzstan are in vulnerable situations posing severe threats to their lives and leading to panic situation among their parents back home,” said Srikakulam MP, K Ramamohan Naidu.

He spoke to the students and also wrote to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to take serious note of the situation and direct the authorities to initiate necessary steps through the Indian Embassy.

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Published 20 May 2024, 22:07 IST

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