Indians safe in Kyrgyzstan, may return to India this week


New Delhi : All the 116 Indian nationals, most of them medical students, who were stranded in riot-hit southern Kyrgyzstan have been safely evacuated to the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, the government said here Tuesday, adding it was up to them to return to India as the situation was improving in the Central Asian nation.

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The Indians stranded in the southern Kyrgyz towns of Osh and Jalal-Abad were safely evacuated last night by air to Bishkek, the external affairs ministry said here.

“They are expected to return to India over the next few days. Flights out of Bishkek are operating normally,” the ministry said.

The airlift of the Indian citizens was arranged by the Indian embassy in Bishkek with the active cooperation and support of the Kyrgyz authorities.

The Indian mission has, however, left it to Indians to make up their mind on returning to India.

“There are at least three flights from Bishkek to India. It’s for them to decide whether to return to India or not as the situation has stabilised in Bishkek,” said government sources.

The Indian mission, on its part, has left no stone unturned to instil a sense of security in Indians after they were evacuated Monday night. Every student was provided dinner and breakfast the next day by the Indian embassy.

The embassy is arranging passports of those students whose passports were left behind and arranging for visas of those whose visas had expired,” said the sources who spoke only on condition of anonymity. This will be done within two days, said the sources.

As many as 116 Indians were feared trapped in the riot-hit former Soviet republic. The stranded Indians included 15 students in Jalalabad and 99 students, a professor and a businessman in Osh.

In the worst ethnic violence in decades, at least 124 people have been killed and more than 1,685 wounded in southern Kyrgyzstan.