Ukraine-Russia War: Indian Students Allege Ill Treatment, Evacuations Underway

New Delhi, 1 March 2022 – As the military crisis between Ukraine and Russia escalates further, thousands of Indian students find themselves stranded in the war-torn European country. Although the Government of India is trying to evacuate its citizens from the war zone under the mission ‘Operation Ganga’, Indian students stuck in Ukraine allege that they are facing miss-treatment by security personnels of the Ukrainian Military and the Indian Embassy is not responding to their grievances. 

Talking to ‘The Tribune’ over phone, Meenu Kaur of Ralla village in Mansa (Punjab), who is stuck in Kharkiv noted that “The situation is grim as around 700 Indian students are stuck in hostel basements and the Indian Embassy is not at all providing any help. When we contact them, they just ask us to reach borders via train or buses. Some students tried to go, but they were manhandled and were not allowed to board the train. We have very little food and water with us. Moreover, we keep on hearing sounds of bombs and gun shots at regular intervals. In basement bunkers, we don’t have heaters, whereas the temperature here is sub-zero, so people are falling ill.”

Several videos shared by Meenu also showed Indian students being kicked, beaten up, dragged by Ukrainian security personnel and some even had their phones snatched from them.

Evacuations Under ‘Operation Ganga’ – Private Airlines Step-In to Help 

The Indian government has decided to send Union Ministers Hardeep Puri, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju, and General (Retd) V K Singh to Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Moldova to oversee the evacuation of Indians. Plus, several private Indian airlines are coming up to help with the evacuation process of Indian students from Ukraine. 

Private carriers like Air India Express, IndiGo, and SpiceJet are operating special flights from Hungary’s capital Budapest and Romania’s Bucharest to evacuate stranded Indians from the war-torn country.

  • So far, Air India has evacuated a total of 1,396 Indian nationals on six flights. On 28 February, the fifth Air India flight landed in Delhi from Bucharest with 249 Indian nationals and the sixth flight arrived from Budapest with 240 Indians. 
  • IndiGo will also be operating four additional flights to aid in the evacuation process. Two flights will be sent from Delhi to Budapest (Hungary) and Rzeszow (Poland) via Istanbul today, i.e., 1 March 2022.

Why is Ukraine a Hub for Indian Students Pursuing Medical Studies?

As per Dr Sudarshan Gherade, President of Foreign Medical Association of India (FMAI), “Ukrainian and Russian medical colleges are recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The degrees are very much valid in India as the Indian Medical Council (MCI) too recognises them. These medical degrees are also recognised worldwide; especially the European Council of Medicine, other global bodies, and the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom help these students with further opportunities.”

Here are the four major reasons why Indian medical students take admission in Ukraine: 

  • Ukraine ranks fourth in Europe for having the maximum number of graduate and post-graduate specializations in the field of medicine. 
  • Its universities provide quality education at a low cost. In India, private medical colleges tend to demand high fees, while the medical colleges in Ukraine fill this gap by offering relatively lower fees. 
  • Unlike India, there are no medical examinations that are conducted for medical students to get admissions in Ukraine. 
  • The medium of instruction in Ukraine is English, which allows Indian students to seek job opportunities in foriegn nations.
  • Indian students also get the stamp of being foriegn educated, which increases their market value in India.

Note: As per a report by Hindustan Times, the fees charged by medical institutions in Ukraine can range between INR 30 lakh and INR 35 lakh, compared to the fee of around INR ₹1 crore (including donation) charged by private medical colleges in India.

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