Air tickets, passports for Indian students in Kyrgyzstan


New Delhi : The Indian government has offered one-way ticket and passport services to Indian students wishing to come back home from strife-torn Kyrgyzstan, an external affairs ministry official said Wednesday.

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“The government’s primary concern in situations of distress for Indian nationals is to get them out of harm’s way by the fastest possible means,” ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told reporters here.

“This is precisely what was achieved when the embassy chartered an aircraft to bring our nationals from troubled Osh and Jalal-Abad to Bishkek (Monday night),” he said.

The ministry, however, clarified that as opposed to an earlier estimate of 116 students stranded in Kyrgyzstan amid ethnic violence, there were 105 students and added that all of them have been evacuated to safety.

In the worst violence in decades, over 179 people have been killed and more than 1,600 injured in ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan.

Stung by criticism of some students complaining of callous treatment by Indian mission officials, the ministry said arrangements for students’ stay and meals was made at the International University of Kyrgyztan in Bishkek.

In one of the reports, a student complained that he had no place to sleep after being evacuated.

The official clarified that in accordance with established consular procedures, the mission has offered to buy tickets for those students who may be facing temporary financial difficulties.

“In such cases, as per government rules, the passport is handed over to the mission which issues an emergency certificate and procures a one-way ticket to India,” he said.

“The individual, who avails of the facility, repays the money to the government in due course and gets his passport back. This offer is available to all the students who were evacuated from Osh and Jalal-Abad,” he stressed.

The spokesperson also clarified that commercial and chartered flights are operating normally in and out of Bishkek and the Indian mission is assisting the students with the travel arrangements.

“Some of these students are planning to stay on in Bishkek, while some others want to come to India for summer vacations,” he said.

“It is understood that a couple of chartered flights are likely to operate within the coming days between Bishkek and India. We are hopeful that all students who wish to travel to India will be able to do so,” he said.

The Indian embassy is also offering those who have left their passports in Osh, or have visas that have expired, free passport and visa services to facilitate their travel.