Situation in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan limping to normal; Indian students seek repatriation amid tense calm


New Delhi, May 24: The atmosphere in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan remains calm yet tense, with numerous Indian students expressing a desire to return home despite assurances that the situation is stabilising. In response to these concerns, the Indian embassy in Bishkek has taken proactive measures to ensure the safety and transport of these students.

In a message posted on X (formerly Twitter), the embassy stated, “Upon request of Indian medical students, the embassy is working with medical universities in the Kyrgyz Republic to arrange for their transport to the nearest international airport to address their concern.”

The anxiety among the students stems from scattered incidents of mob violence targeting international student hostels since May 17. Several medical students have urgently requested assistance to reach the airport and return to India. There have been concerns back in India with the families of the students who are in touch with their loved ones studying in scattered universities but remain worried about their wellbeing and would like to have them back in India.

Earlier, the embassy reassured in another tweet, “The situation in and around Bishkek is normal and stable. Flights to India are operational. The embassy is in contact with medical universities in Kyrgyzstan to address the concerns of Indian students.”

On May 22, Ambassador Arun K Chatterjee visited the International Higher School of Medicine (IHSM) in Bishkek, where he met with Indian students to address their concerns. He advised them to adhere to the prescribed guidelines of IHSM and to reach out to the embassy whenever necessary. The embassy also provided two helpline numbers (0555710041 and 0555005538) for Indian students needing assistance.

In a press release, the embassy reiterated that all Indian students are safe as the situation in Bishkek starts to normalise following the mob violence.The unrest on May 17 predominantly involved Pakistani students and residents.

The press release also highlighted the significant presence of Indian students in Kyrgyzstan, stating, “Every year, a large number of Indian students join medical and other universities in the Kyrgyz Republic for further studies. At the moment, around 17,000 Indian students are in the Kyrgyz Republic, spread across many cities, but most of them are in Bishkek.”

The embassy has been working closely with universities and senior government officials to address the students’ concerns. Additionally, the press release advised students and their families to disregard rumours spread by mischievous elements. “Air connectivity between Bishkek and Delhi remains operational, and flights to India are also available via Almaty, Dubai, Istanbul, Sharjah, and Tashkent. Local transportation to Manas International Airport in Bishkek remains accessible for Indian students,” it added.

The violence followed a skirmish on May 13 between local Kyrgyz students and students from Egypt and other Arab countries, resulting in the injury of a Kyrgyz student. The situation escalated on May 16 when mobs targeted and attacked foreign students, including those from India and Pakistan. At least 14 Pakistani students were reportedly injured.

As the academic year concludes, the embassy has instructed students to complete the necessary formalities before travelling back to India. “Prior to travelling back to India, including for summer vacations, all Indian students must contact their respective universities about the formalities required for the completion of their exams. In case any assistance is needed, the students are requested to contact the Embassy of India in Bishkek. The Embassy remains committed to ensuring the well-being of the Indian student community,” the press release concluded.__GK News