Kyrgyzstan Unrest: Why Violent Mobs Targets Indian Students?

Thousands of Indian students in Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian country, are presently living in fear and have been advised by the Indian Embassy there to remain vigilant.
Kyrgyzstan Unrest: Why Violent Mobs Targets Indian Students?

Thousands of Indian students in Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian country, are presently living in fear and have been advised by the Indian Embassy there to remain vigilant. The fear has gripped them after the local goons, especially in Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, indulged in large scale violence and thrashed students from South Asian countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and India some days back. Some students even died due to the violence against them by the locals.

Indian & Pakistani Students Seek Repatriation:

Observing that parents of some Indian students in Kyrgyzstan are concerned over the safety of their children, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy urged External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to consider organizing special flights to bring the Indian students back "till the issues come under control".

In a letter to Jaishankar, Reddy said there are a large number of Telugu students pursuing undergraduate program in medicine in Kyrgyzstan.

"I have received several representations from panic-stricken parents expressing concern over the safety of their children. The Telugu media also picked the item which further escalated the anxiety amongst the families," Reddy said in the letter released to the media.

An Uneasy Calm after Unrest in Bishkek:

Reportedly, a majority of the students are living in hostels or in their own rooms without lights and access to basic necessities. If the Indian students are found outside, they are being indiscriminately attacked by the local students. The Indian Embassy there is cognizant of the matter and is reportedly trying to extend help.  A majority of the Indian students would want to come back to India, at least till the tension subsides as it is difficult for them to continue their studies there. There is a great deal of insecurity and anxiety among the parents of the students which "need to be addressed immediately.

Anti-Migrant Protests Expose Problems:

Kyrgyzstan was earlier a part of USSR or Soviet Union but got separated in early 1990s. Thousands of Indian youth go to Kyrgyzstan every year for studies, mainly MBBS, as the courses there are cheaper as compared to the expenses incurred in India in private colleges. Even the stay in Kyrgyzstan is not expensive. At present, there are about 17,000 Indian students in Kyrgyzstan, mostly in its capital Bishkek, according to the Indian Embassy.

Why Indian Students are Being Targeted:

On May 18, locals went berserk in Bishkek, attacking the hostels and other places where the students from South Asia live. While most of the targets on that day were students from Pakistan and Bangladesh, some Indians also became victims of violence. Since then, an atmosphere of fear has gripped the students from India, along with those from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Many Pakistani students have since returned home.

While calm has been restored in Bishkek, the authorities there have imposed restrictions on movement of people and the students also have been advised against going out of their hostels or other places of stay.

Indian Embassy Monitoring the Situation:

“The Embassy has been concerned at the recent incidents of violence against foreign students in Bishkek. However, due to swift action by the Kyrgyz authorities, the situation in Bishkek has returned to normal. No untoward incident has been reported in Bishkek during the past few days,” said a post by the Indian Embassy on X, formerly Twitter.

“There are no restrictions on the movement of transport or people. However, as a measure of precaution, the classes are being conducted in an online mode,” the official statement read.

“Situation in Bishkek continues to remain calm. However, upon the 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 concerns,” the Indian Embassy posted on X, formerly Twitter,

“Students should contact their respective Medical Universities in this regard. In case of any issue, the Embassy can be reached on the helpline numbers 0555710041, 0555005538,” the embassy added.

The Indian Embassy has informed students and their families that the Indian Ambassador visited the Jalal-Abad State University on May 18 and the International Higher School of Medicine in Bishkek on May 22, and interacted with the Indian students there.

Embassy officials also visited the International Medical University and the Eurasian Medical University on May 21 and to the Royal Metropolitan University and to the Avicenna University on May 22 to continue this interaction with the students and to address their concerns.

Kyrgyzstan takes measures following unrest in Bishkek:

The Indian Embassy has also informed students and their families that the air connectivity between Bishkek and Delhi remains operational and flights to India can also be availed via Almaty, Dubai, Istanbul, Sharjah and Tashkent.

The local transport to Manas International Airport in Bishkek remains accessible to Indian students.