VILLUPURAM: Claiming officials arranged return for North Indian students on priority, 22-year old medical student R Harihara Sudhan said it was upsetting to see they waited for five days to be rescued.
"Outside India, we are all seen as foreigners, but within our country why are we divided as north and south, aren't we all Indians?" asked Sudhan who returned from Ukraine back home to Thirukovilur. Sudhan and his brother R Venkataraman (20) were studying medicine at a private institute in Russia's Mykolayiv, roughly about 400 kilometres away from Kyiv, where the students had to board a flight.
According to Venkataraman, "On February 24, I booked my flight from Kyiv to India. But as I arrived in Kyiv the night before, I received a message saying our tickets were cancelled. So, we had nowhere to go until the Indian Embassy informed us about a rescue from Hungary. We booked a bus ticket worth `6,000 to reach Hungary. On March 1, we reached Hungary but were rescued only on March 6." The brothers alleged during their five-day stay in Hungary, the Indian Embassy took care of them. However, priority to evacuate Indian students from Hungary was accorded to North Indian students.
"We are all Indians but that particular act by the officers hurt us. It left us unable to make sense of the politics spun around our lives," said Sudhan. He further added medicine was a dream not just for him but the entire family. "I was depressed. All I wanted was to come back home with my brother in one piece, and see my parents," Venkataraman explained.
Mother of the siblings duo, Bharathi, told TNIE," Both our sons wanted to do medicine. But, they failed to clear NEET and we sent them to Ukraine. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine this would happen. We are all traumatised by our fate, as to how an entrance exam forced us to put our sons abroad and how a war between foreign countries almost cost us our sons."