COVID-19 lockdown: Stuck at airports and other cities, Kashmiri students plead for help

kashmiri-students-airpost Kashmiri students stranded at Bengaluru airport on Tuesday | Bhanu Prakash Chandra

Scores of Kashmiri students stuck at airports and rented accommodations outside Kashmir due to coronavirus lockdown have made frantic calls and appeals to J&K government to evacuate them.

Greater Kashmir said in a report that it received several phone calls and emails from desperate students, pleading for help.

The report said a girl student from Aligarh, who wished to remain anonymous, called and said there were only three students in the building she was staying. She made an appeal to the J&K government for help and said they don’t have enough rations left. “The tiffin service has also been closed for the past two days,’’ the report quoted the girl as saying. “The guy who used to deliver potable water has also stopped coming here. At least let us die with our parents back home.”

According to the Greater Kashmir report, the girl said they are ready to shift to a quarantine centre in Kashmir after they are evacuates as this would mean that they would be able to unite with their families after 10-15 days.

A PhD scholar, in an email, said he stuck at Chennai airport with another student. “We had come to the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory for our PhD related work. Our flight was scheduled in the morning yesterday to Srinagar airport. Unfortunately it got cancelled and we have no place to go here,” the report quoting the email. It said the student wrote they had approached the authorities for help but in vain.

“Nobody is listening to us, please help us. We have no option to go back to our institute as they are not allowing us,” the email read. According to the news report, the student said in the email that they will follow all procedures of quarantine. “Please evacuate us somehow from here, otherwise we may starve to death. My mother (a widow) is waiting for me,” the student was quoted as saying in the mail.

According to the news report, parents of two students, Mir Amaan Ullah and Nasir Mehran Lone of Chanapora, said in an email that their sons returning from Bangladesh are stuck at Lakhenpur sub district hospital in Punjab from the last two days despite revealing their travel history.

“The authorities don’t allow them to travel to Srinagar. They have been properly tested and they have no symptoms of COVID-19,” the Greater Kashmir report, quoting the email, said. “It will be your most kindness to help us to get our children handed over to district authority Srinagar so that they will get proper care in this troubled time,”

Another student in an e-mail from Delhi said they were stranded in Delhi due to suspension of air travel. “We are stuck here and have no accommodation.”

On Tuesday, a video of a group of Kashmiri students stuck at Bengaluru airport had gone viral on WhatsApp. In the video, a girl student was seem appealing to J&K authorities to evacuate them to Kashmir. She said they had nowhere to go due to coronavirus lockdown.

The families of scores of Kashmiri students studying outside and abroad have been hugely distressed by the calls made by their children for help.

Most of the students, who have returned, have been kept in temporary quarantine centres set up in hotel in Srinagar and other districts. Iran and Bangladesh has emerged as the preferred destination for Kashmiri students who want to study medicine.

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