Bengaluru: The Centre through ‘Operation Ganga’ is evacuating the students stranded in Ukraine, but there are hundreds of Indian students who are stuck in areas where fighting between the Russian forces and Ukraine Army is taking place.
Hiding in bunkers, their supplies are diminishing and the cold temperature is adding to the woes, said the evacuated students after arriving here.
“Our friends are in bunkers in the Kharkiv and Kyiv regions of Ukraine. They are in need of help. They have been languishing in the bunkers for a long time, the temperature is minus two degrees there, and they should be rescued at the earliest,” stated Vijayalkshmi, who landed at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on Sunday morning.
She is one among the 12 students who arrived in Bengaluru from Ukraine after the war broke out. Thirteen more students have reached New Delhi in the second batch and they are stationed in the Karnataka Bhavan. Five more students, who have arrived, will also be taken to the Karnataka Bhavan. All of them will be sent to Bengaluru on the day itself after arrangements of transport are made, the Karnataka Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) authorities stated.
Talking about the rescue mission, Vijayalkshmi said that she was stationed at a safe place, which was located 30 kilometres away from the border of Romania. “As soon as our embassy asked us to move, we started the journey and immediately reached. I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Government of India and our embassy in Romania,” she said.
“They took care and rescued us. Actually, the Indian media exaggerated things that caused panic among us and parents. The news of deaths initially disturbed us, though we wanted to remain calm. Now, there is a situation, they need help,” she stated.
“As many as 15,000 Indian students are in Ukraine. They are in need of help, especially those in Kharkiv and Kyiv. We don’t know where they are sleeping, where they are staying. We came back luxuriously, they don’t know what to do in this situation,” she said.
The parents of the students, who returned from Ukraine safely, thanked the Indian embassy and asked the government to bring them back from war-torn Ukraine.
Chaya Chandrashekar, another student who safely reached home, said it took a lot of time for them to reach the border of Romania. “Once we reached there, we were taken to the airport and the Indian embassy helped from there on. Our friends are still there. We were on west front, there was no bombing in that region,” she said.
Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Mining Palhad Joshi explained that the central government is putting all efforts to bring back all the young men and women through special ‘Operation Ganga’ from neighboring countries like Romania and others. The Karnataka government is also making all efforts and coordinating with the Union government to bring back Kannadiga students.
Meanwhile, Ankita, a fourth year medical student from Karnataka stuck in Kharkiv, said in a video: “Don’t stop praying for us. There is food scarcity and the cost of bread and biscuits have also gone upwards. Water is not available and they are drinking tap water directly.”
She further added that she doesn’t know how long this tap water would be available for them. She further said in the video that they are following protocols and she is positive that they get through it. She said that they are courageous to face the situation and asked parents also to be courageous. “The government should ensure food and water for us,” she said.
Ankita also said that she came to Ukraine four years ago and can communicate in the local language and knows the place very well. “How about those who came a year or two ago? They don’t have any idea,” she said.
Ankita appealed to all parents not to cry when they speak to their children. “The situation is serious in Ukraine, embassy is also stuck, and no one knows when and where the bombs would explode,” she said.
She added that they have been asked to stay underground or on the first floor and have been asked not to venture out. “A few Indian students went out without informing authorities by sticking Indian flags on their vehicles. Now, they are struck at the border, without shelter and food in the minus 6 or 7 degrees environment,” she said.