Indian Students Stranded in Ukraine Recount Horror Tales

Indian Students Stranded in Ukraine Recount Horror Tales - Sakshi Post

Students from India who are stranded in Ukraine recount horror stories.

Russia Ukraine Conflict: "Everything shivers. A dhamaka (blast) near my residence today made my table and the windows of my room quiver. Each time a blast happens, everything shivers," says Ashiq Hussain Sarkar, who is currently stuck in Eastern Ukraine between Kyiv and Kharkiv.

In the previous week, Ashiq and his two roommates had not slept for more than two hours at a time. Even two hours is a bit of a treat for them. He observes that they will soon run out of groceries, despite their best efforts to be cautious. "Water is scarce too. At times, we end up drinking tap water because that’s what we are left with," he told Indian media over WhatsApp from Ukraine.

Also Read: Ukraine Crisis: Indian Students Don't Need Visa to Leave Romania on Special Flights

Ashiq, along with an estimated 900 Indian students at Sumy State University in Ukraine, has been stuck between the eastern Ukrainian districts of Kyiv and Kharkiv, which are currently under siege by Russia.

After Russian President Vladimir Putin began an attack on Ukraine last week, both cities, as well as the rest of the country, have been subjected to bomb blasts, airstrikes, and other military offensives. Hundreds of international students, mostly Indians, have been left stranded and terrified.

Being a spectator in a war between two nation-states is not something Indian students like Ashiq signed up for.

According to a different but similar tale, Saad Ansari, an undergraduate medical student studying in Ukraine, spent the night at the Bucharest international airport in Romania after ultimately escaping Ukraine with difficulties.

He's currently waiting for his flight to New Delhi to take off. Around 200 Indian students waiting to evacuate the war-torn region will benefit from the flight. "There are 300 other students still residing at the airport. They are not as lucky as us and it is unclear when they will get to return home," adds Ansari, who spoke with Indian media from Bucharest Airport in Romania.

Ansari, a student at Ukraine's Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University, is worried about how the situation will affect his education. All courses have been suspended until the second week of March, and with the situation deteriorating, he is unsure what this means for his education if anything at all.

"I am exhausted. But for now, I am relieved that at least I will get to go back home," he added.

Data on Indians in Ukraine from the Government:

The fact that the Indian administration has no idea how many Indian people are trapped in Ukraine is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the issue. The government has drastically overestimated the number of students stranded in possibly the most perilous terrain in the world right now, according to Nitesh Singh, the founder of S.O.S India, a nonprofit attempting to assist the kids.

"The Indian Union issued an advisory that there are no Indians left in Kyiv and that they have all been successfully evacuated. When we cross-checked, we found around 600 students still stuck in Kyiv. Their data is faulty, and this makes for a very scary situation," remarked Nitesh.

According to Saad's testimony, an Indian from Tech Mahindra approached and offered assistance at one of the Ukrainian shelters after numerous tries. "The government has to seriously consider what its responsibility is. The chief aid we received was from Romanian nationals, who helped us with food and shelter," he explains.

Although things eventually worked out for Saad, Ashiq isn't as optimistic. "We were informed that somebody would come and help us in a couple of days. We have our bags packed and ready, but the situation is bleak," he adds.

Psychology of the Neglected

Another upsetting aspect of the scenario is the psychological impact of the war on the stranded students. "I am older, so I manage. Some of these students are still teenagers. The 18–19-year-olds living on campus have lived here for only two months or so," Ashiq explains.

Every day, at least 50–60 of these students cry, get panic attacks, and are traumatised.

"Umeed to banaye rakhna padta hai," Ashiq says when asked if there is hope. (Hope has to be maintained.) Toh aur kaun karega, humari sarkar nahi karegi? (Who else will aid us if our government won't?)"

Victim Shaming

From across the seas and borders, students were asked why they decided to study abroad when India "is a perfectly feasible choice." While the students were unable to pass NEET in India, they worked hard to qualify for medical entrance exams in Ukraine with the sole goal of becoming doctors, according to Ashiq.

Another point of contention for the students is why they did not leave Ukraine when the embassy requested that they do so. Apart from the statement's injustice, Saad points out that the embassy's recommendation was ambiguous. The recommendation advised Kyiv students to leave the city if they felt it was necessary.

Despite all this, we were left to fend for ourselves. I don’t come from a very plush background. My family in Gorakhpur does not have a lot of money. We scrounged up some money and used private vehicles to travel from one place to another," Saad explains.

In the last week of January, Saad and a large number of other students campaigned for conversion to online classes. The university and the embassy, however, paid no attention to the students' concerns.

The Indian community in Ukraine is not optimistic, as one Indian student has already died. They are currently moving from one day to the next, one panic attack at a time.

Read More:

Back to Top