More disturbing news is coming from war-torn Ukraine. The Karnataka students stranded in the Kharkiv region have said that local Ukrainian authorities and the military are assaulting Indian students and pointing guns at them.
Harshitha, from the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka, who is studying in Ukraine, is one of the students still stuck in Kharkiv. She spoke to the media about the ordeal they are facing.
She said that Indian students are not being allowed to board trains arranged to evacuate people from the region. “Indian students are being pushed out of trains, they are not allowed to board, if questioned they are being assaulted and guns are being pointed at them,” she said.
“When the trains come to the platforms, the doors are locked. They allow only the Ukraninans to board the trains. Among Ukrainians also, children are boarded first, later their mothers and then other women and lastly the Ukrainian men are let in,” she said.
She said the Indian students were not able to board the trains. They were being charged 100 to 200 dollars per head and even after paying, Indians were not being allowed. “We stayed in bunkers for five to six days. When we knew that the train was being arranged, we walked for 11 km. But, after reaching the train station we could not board two trains, one at 8 a.m. and another at 12.30 p.m.,” she said.
“About 8 to 10 missiles were fired very close to the train station where I stood. Whenever Indians questioned them about not being allowed to board trains they pointed guns and threatened us. After missing trains, there was heavy firing and we came back to the shelter facility. Since yesterday there is no food and it is morning now and no one has told anything about this. Presently, we are staying in 2 to 3 hostel buildings. They have kept 4 people in one room,” she said.
She said they have been trying to contact the embassy, but they are not getting through. “At the train station, the authorities are not beating Ukranians. Indians are tortured, Indians students in the train were pushed out and beaten up. There are many incidents where Indians were asked to leave bunkers. Ukraninans are telling Indian students that India is not supporting them and why should they help them?” Harshitha said.
“We had to carry our bags containing our laptop, etc., and walk. We kept the Indian flag on our heads and kept running towards the railway station, but it was of no use. When we were returning, the missiles were fired and buildings destroyed. We have been asked not to switch on the light and not to venture out. Our snacks are running out. If we are not rescued now, it is going to be very difficult for us,” she said.
Meanwhile, the family of medical student Naveen Shekarappa Gyanagoudar, who was killed in Ukraine, is still waiting for news on his dead body.
Anish, who returned to Karnataka safely explained that he returned from the West part of Ukraine. “Indian students, especially girl students, are awaiting evacuation at the eastern borders. They are braving snowfall without shelter. There are about 18,000 to 20,000 Indian students in Ukraine, only 6,000 have returned. Most of them are stuck in the Kharkiv and Kiev regions. The embassy is not receiving calls, they need urgent help,” he said.