70 medical students stranded at India-Bangladesh border due to COVID 19 lockdown
New Delhi - A group of 70 Kashmir based medical students studying in Dhaka is stranded at Benaport, the border area between India and Bangladesh, after their colleges were shut due to the coronavirus outbreak that has left over 16,500 people dead worldwide so far and the toll is climbing high every day.
Around 7,000 to 10,000 Kashmiri youth study in Bangladesh, out of which most have returned to Kashmir in the last couple of months "However, some who stayed back are now wishing to return. A group of 70 students stuck at the border have posted a video seeking help from the Modi government," Faisal, a Kashmiri doctor told IANS. Such large number of Kashmiris study in Bangladesh primarily because of several reasons. After the Pakistan sponsored Islamist militancy hit Kashmir''s education system badly, parents began sending their children for education across India and to neighbouring countries.
India went for a countrywide lockdown on March 23rd with curfew at many places to ensure social distancing and homestay to prevent further coronavirus spread. The government has also suspended international flights, sealed all the borders, ports and entry points, in a bid to contain the epidemic.
"Since Kashmiris prefer white collar jobs, especially medicine, there weren''t any easy and cheap options in India. Getting into medical colleges is highly competitive and also expensive here. So, many parents sent their children to the Central Asian countries and Russia to study MBBS. However, Russian degrees in medicine were not recognised by the Medical Council of India. So, the next best option was medical colleges in the neighbourhood. Though Pakistan offered special scholarships for Kashmiri students, security clearance remains a problem. That is why Bangladesh has been easier and far more accessible," a Kashmiri parent said.
The dozens of Kashmiri students stranded at the border, have alleged that their colleges asked them to vacate hostels and return to India. "But, we were not allowed to enter Indian side and we are stuck at the border from past many hours," a Kashmiri student said in a video shared on social media. The students said they cannot go back to Bangladesh as they have already reached the border.
Official sources said that they are trying to figure out how to mitigate the problem as early as possible