Left to our fate, flights are expensive say students in Bishkek

With the Embassy ruling out the possibility of evacuation, students are now trying to book regular flights. But the airfare has spiked sharply due to the high demand.
Image used for representation
Image used for representation

HYDERABAD: While instances of violence have reduced in Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek, Indian students on Sunday continued to allege that the Embassy has not been assisting them properly.

In a video that went viral on social media, a student is seen questioning the Embassy if there are any evacuation plans. An official answers, “As of now, there are no such plans. Student coordinators have been briefed. Regular flights are available.” But when the student asks if they will be provided security to reach the airport, the official disconnects. After the student calls again, he replies, “If you want to go to the airport, contact the contractor, get permission from the rector.” He disconnects again.

Image used for representation
Telugu students in Bishkek safe: APNRTS

Three days after the May 17 mob violence, students told TNIE that the situation has improved and that locals are not attacking people in mobs. “While there is no mob violence now, we have been locked inside our rooms for over three days now. The last proper meal I had was on the night of May 17,” a student said, adding, “No food, no sleep, no connection with the outside world is making me feel depressed. I want to leave the country and reach home safely.”

The primary concern of the students now pertains to their travel back home. With the Embassy ruling out the possibility of evacuation, students are now trying to book regular flights. But the airfare has spiked sharply due to the high demand.

“We used to pay around Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 for a flight ticket. But now, the minimum cost seems to be around Rs 40,000,” shared one of the students. Another student, who has roots in Telangana, said, “Evacuation seems to be a secondary concern. We are ready to pay for our tickets. But we want the Embassy to help coordinate with other airlines and arrange for more flights so that the airfare is not expensive.”

Students speaking to TNIE said that as of now, Bishkek-based Aero Nomad is the only airline operating direct flights to India. “However, tickets for the flights have been booked till May 30,” they said.

When TNIE contacted a contractor who is tasked with helping students return to India, he said, “Aero Nomad is planning to add more flights in the coming days.” He agreed that last-minute bookings have led to high fares.

CM Revanth Redddy speaks to officials

Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy on Monday asked top state officials about the situation in Bishkek. The government has contacted the Indian Ambassador in Bishkek, Arun Kumar Chatterjee, who said that all Indian students were safe and that the embassy helpline was fully operational to respond to any emergency.

Meanwhile, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi took to X to share that a student had reached out to him saying that they have not eaten for five days. “Dr S Jaishankar, please take strong steps to protect our people there. Arrangements must be made for their return if the situation does not improve,” his post read.

Students worry about resumption of violence

Early on Tuesday, Indian students in Bishkek called up TNIE and expressed fear over possible resumption of violence. They pointed to a video from neighbouring Kant that said there were people with pistols going around in cars. Another video from Bishkek that they shared indicated some disturbance and showed many police vehicles around 1 am Tuesday (Kyrgyzstan time) in a single lane. The videos could not be independently verified.

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The New Indian Express