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India, Pakistan advise students in Kyrgyzstan to 'stay indoors' amid mob violence

There have been reports of several incidents of mob violence against international students in Kyrgyzstan, a matter that significantly escalated after the videos of a fight between students surfaced on May 13. Kyrgyzstan is a favoured educational destination for India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Bishkek Updated on: May 18, 2024 16:29 IST
Scenes of mob violence against students in Kyrgyzstan.
Image Source : ANI Scenes of mob violence against students in Kyrgyzstan.

Bishkek: Amid reports of mob violence against international students in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, the Indian embassy in the country on Saturday issued an advisory, asking Indian students in the central Asian nation to stay indoors and get in touch with the embassy authorities. The Indian embassy also said it was in touch with the students and shared a helpline number.

'We are in touch with our students. The situation is presently calm but students are advised to stay indoors for the moment and get in touch with the Embassy in case of any issue," said the Indian embassy in Kyrgyzstan on social media platform X.

What happened in Kyrgyzstan?

Reportedly, there have been several incidents of mob violence against foreign students in Bishkek since last evening, the Pakistan embassy in Kyrgyzstan said in a social media post, adding that the situation heated up on Friday. The matter came to light when videos of a fight between Kyrgyz students and medical students from Egypt emerged on May 13. "There have been a number of incidents of mob violence against foreign students in Bishkek since last evening. According to the Kyrgyz press, the matter boiled over yesterday due to sharing online of videos of a fight between Kyrgyz students and medical students from Egypt on 13th of May," the embassy said.

Kyrgyz police said they had mobilised forces in the Central Asian nation's capital on Friday to quell the violence, in which hundreds of Kyrgyz men attacked buildings housing foreign students, including Pakistanis. The attack, the police said, was prompted by foreigners - whose nationality was not immediately clear - beating up locals in the city.

According to Pakistan, the Kyrgyz health ministry had confirmed four Pakistanis were given first aid and discharged while one was still under treatment for injury. It later issued a demarche to Kyrgyzstan's top diplomat there calling for the safety and security of Pakistani students and citizens.

Highlighting that the situation is reportedly calm now, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday, emphasised that they are monitoring the welfare of Indian students in Bishkek. "Monitoring the welfare of Indian students in Bishkek. Situation is reportedly calm now. Strongly advise students to stay in regular touch with the Embassy," he said. According to data from the Ministry of External Affairs, some 14,500 Indian students reside in Kyrgyzstan.

Pakistan issues advisory for students

A similar advisory has been issued for Pakistani students by Islamabad's embassy in the country. "A few hostels of medical universities in Bishkek and private residences of international students, including Pakistanis, have been attacked. The hostels are inhabited by students from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh," it said.

There were also some reports of some Pakistani deaths in Kyrgyzstan, however, the government has refuted such reports and said it had not received any confirmed report. "The Embassy has been able to contact over 250 students and their family members in Pakistan through these numbers.  So far, the violence appears to be directed against all foreign students and not specific to Pakistanis," the Pakistan embassy said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said he had directed his envoy in Kyrgyzstan to provide all necessary help and assistance. "Deeply concerned over the situation of Pakistani students in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. I have directed Pakistan's Ambassador to provide all necessary help and assistance. My office is also in touch with the Embassy and constantly monitoring the situation," Shehbaz said.

The central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan is a favoured destination for education, particularly in the medical field, attracting numerous students from the Indian subcontinent, including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

(with ANI inputs)

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