Kashmiri Students In Kyrgyzstan Desperate To Return Home

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) Srinagar- Locked inside their college hostels in Kyrgyzstan since last week, in the aftermath of mob violence in Bishkek against foreign students, the panic-stricken Kashmiri students have urged the Union Foreign Ministry to facilitate their safe return to India.

According to reports, certain
housing students from medical universities in Bishkek, as well as private residences accommodating international students have been subject to attacks. These hostels primarily cater to students from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.


Four Pakistani students were allegedly killed and as many Indians critically injured after Kyrgyz locals barged inside a dormitory of a medical college in Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan last week
is said to have stemmed from an incident of harassment involving female students from Egypt.

The attacks were instigated by online videos depicting a confrontation between Egyptian and Kyrgyz students on May 13. Reports said that Egyptian girls were physically attacked by the irate local students, who burst into their hostel on May 17, four days after the confrontation between two sides.

Though the Kyrgyzstan government, according to the students who spoke to Kashmir Observer, apologized for the unfortunate incident and guaranteed safety for the foreign students, the situation in Bishkek is yet to get back to normal.

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“Locals are threatening to kill foreign students, in case they don't leave the country,” a student from south Kashmir studying in Jalalabad State University In Kyrgyzstan
told Kashmir Observer over phone.

“After breaking into the dormitory of an Egyptian girl's hostel in Bishkek, a group of enraged local students assaulted female students, prompting retribution together from Egyptian students and those from India and Pakistan. At least four Pakistani students lost their lives while around a dozen Indian students were critically injured in the incident,” he said.

The student claimed that the incident stemmed from anti-black sentiment prevalent in Kyrgyzstan, where black individuals are employed or enrolled in different educational institutions, and the locals actively pressure the government for their 'expulsion'.

Union Minister G Kishan Reddy on Tuesday urged External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to consider organizing special flights to bring the Indian students back“till the issues come under control”.

The people of Kyrgyzstan, according to the stranded students, have apologized to the students from Pakistan and India and have requested them to carry on with their education without fear of violence or threats.

The Kyrgyz citizens in a video circulated on social media have condemned such despicable acts and sought action against the hooligans, having created a sense of fear among foreign students in Kyrgyzstan.

“On behalf of the people of Kyrgyzstan, we extend our sincere apologies to the students of Pakistan and India. And while the recent incident could have happened anywhere, we also want to highlight that our country is generally safe and hospitable for foreigners,” the video recorded in English language says.

Adding, we deeply regret that due to the actions of a few hooligans, many people have experienced fear and stress. We strongly condemn such despicable acts and hope our relationship will continue to develop based on the best human qualities, all instigators and provocateurs will be punished. This event serves a lesson to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

“Most Kyrgyzstan people are worried and support foreign students. Brothers and sisters, we hope this situation will only unite our nations and not cause any discord,” it says.

“We have been asked to stay indoors till the situation returns to normal in Bishkek which is around five kilometers from here. We always worry about being attacked by the Kyrgyz people. Although all the universities and colleges where students from various Asian and Middle Eastern countries study have security officers stationed. But we no longer feel secure,” Andleeb, a student from Srinagar, told Kashmir Observer.

She claimed that since the incident some 800 Pakistani students departed Kyrgyzstan; however, hundreds of Indian students are waiting for their return to their homeland.

The Indian Embassy in Kyrgyzstan provided a contact number for assistance and urged students to remain indoors until further notice. Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar echoed this advice, urging Indian students to stay in touch with the Embassy.

“Since the rioting started on May 17, lessons are only offered virtually. We are not allowed to move out or open the door for anyone. How could we ever survive here under such circumstances, hence we humbly ask the Indian government to guarantee our prompt return to India,” Andleeb added.

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