This Article is From Mar 03, 2022

'Will They Take Action After We Die?' Student In Ukraine Slams Centre

Back home, the returning students are being greeted with chants of "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and flowers.

Mehtab said there are close to 800 students in Ukraine's Sumy

New Delhi:

An Indian student stuck in war-hit Ukraine's Sumy for last seven days complained that embassy officials are not responding to SOS calls and that students are left to eat stale food and walk kilometres in sub-zero temperatures. Mehtab, who goes by one name and is a student at Sumy University, slammed the government for taking action only after a student lost his life.

"Parents are calling, they are crying. We are stuck in Sumy. We are stuck in eastern parts of Ukraine. We are stuck for last 7 days, but no response. Kharkiv students are also stuck in Sumy...Naveen (student from Karnataka who died in shelling) would not have died. Now Indians are dying here. After that the government of India is taking action. Will the government of India take action after we die," Mehtab told NDTV in a video interview from Sumy.

When asked how many are stuck in Sumy, Mehtab said there are close to 800 students.

"Approximately 800. Not a single student has been evacuated from Sumy. It has been seven days and we are stuck here. I called embassy earlier, but they said the problem will be solved in two days. I called again after two days, there has been no response.

"We are drinking supply water, bacterial water and it's affecting my health. We are eating stale food," Mehtab said, adding he can hear blast sounds.

"We are helpless, very helpless. We know what we are suffering, how we are living here. Lots of my friends called me and are crying. They are beaten by the army. They have to walk 15 km in sub-zero temperatures," he said.

Mehtab pleaded for help from the Centre and had tough words for the Indian embassy in Ukraine.

"No one is responding, I called embassy many times, no response. What will students do. Very helpless," he said.

Back home, the returning students are being greeted with chants of "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and flowers.

"Now that we are here, we are being given this (rose). What is the point? What will we do with this? What would our families do if something happened to us there?"  asked Divyanshu Singh, who returned home this afternoon.

Mr Singh said the government would not need to distribute flowers now if it had acted in time.

Videos have emerged showing Indian students being beaten, kicked and not allowed to board trains.

Nearly 18,000 Indians, mostly students, were in Ukraine before the Russian invasion started on February 24. Thousands have managed to reach home in evacuation flights.

Till March 8, India will fly over 45 evacuation flights from countries neighbouring Ukraine.

The Ministry of External Affairs, or MEA, has said arranging flights are not the main concern as more flights would be made available as long as Indians need to be evacuated, but reaching the western Ukraine border from cities like Kyiv and Kharkiv in the east is the main challenge amid the heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces.

PM Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday to review the situation in Ukraine and Indian evacuation efforts.