Carrying 'save our children' placards, scores of parents of those stuck in war-torn Ukraine's Kharkiv city staged a protest here on Wednesday and appealed to the Centre to immediately evacuate the students. They also asked the people of the country to offer special prayers for the safe return of the trapped students. According to official sources, evacuation flights have brought back around 2,000 Indians stranded in Ukraine since February 26. As many as 31 evacuation flights will be operated till March 8 to neighbouring countries of crisis-hit Ukraine and will bring back more than 6,300 Indians stranded in the eastern European nation. The protest was staged outside the Press Club, a day after a medical student from Karnataka's Haveri district was killed in intense shelling in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv – the first Indian casualty in the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Carrying placards which read “save our children”, the worried parents claimed that no help was extended by the Indian Embassy to the students who are facing extremely difficult situations. “The government needs to act fast to help the students in their safe evacuation … the students are running short of food and drinking water and they were told to cross the border into neighbouring countries on their own,” one of the protesters, Rajinder Paul Singh, told reporters. He said there is snow and they are fearful for the lives of their children who have been in a miserable condition for the past seven days. Singh urged the government to play a positive role in stopping this war. Another protester said he talked to his daughter who told him that there are 700 Indian students who have left their medical college this morning and are walking to cross the border. “Our children need prayers from the countrymen for their safety. We have no faith in this government,” he said.
He said they are going through a nightmare in view of the ongoing crisis and the helplessness of their children who are caught in the war. “We are seeking the protection of our children from God. They have left their place on foot to reach the nearest Metro station which is about 10 kms from their location,” a woman, who is eagerly awaiting the return of her son, said. She was also highly critical of the government efforts for evacuation of the students and said “it is only a propaganda to make people happy. Our children are weeping there and we have been crying here for the past one week.” “Yesterday, a student lost his life … now the government should get out of slumber and act quickly by having some compassion for the children and their parents ,” she said, adding the work on the ground speaks rather than the words. The Divisional Administration Jammu has issued a list of district wise nodal officers and control room helpline numbers in all the 10 districts to provide any assistance to the families whose children are holed up in Ukraine.
The Indian embassy in Ukraine issued a series of advisories earlier last month requesting the people to consider leaving the country after its tensions with Russia increased. India launched the evacuation mission under which the Indians from Hungary, Romania, Poland and Slovakia are being brought back home after they exited Ukraine through its land border crossings. Amid the Russian offensive against Ukraine, India started the evacuation of around 14,000 of its stranded citizens in the Eastern European country on February 26. Six flights under India's evacuation mission 'Operation Ganga' have departed for India in the last 24 hours, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.