Having escaped the clutches of the Ukraine war after braving horrifying odds, students from Mohali are now worried about their future as uncertainty about their education looms large.
As many as 88 students from Mohali are enrolled in various medical universities of Ukraine. Among them, 64, including 34 girls, have returned home safely in the past one week, while 23 are in transit and one student from Zirakpur is still stranded in Sumy.
Most of these students are from Mohali city and studying in Kharkiv, the city hit hardest by the Russian attacks.
“Amid blaring sirens, we stayed hidden in bunkers for days. I am lucky to have made back home alive, but now I am worried about my future. Students are relying on the Indian government to find a solution because our education is suffering while the war continues in Ukraine,” said Riya, a resident of Zirakpur and a second-year student at Poltava State Medical University.
For Vinay Gaura, who hails from Lalru and is a student of Kharkiv National Medical University, five days in the bunker, two without any food, were no less than hell. “It was the worst experience of our lives. Initially, we were told to stay calm as nothing will happen, but then we were directed to rush to bunkers. It’s no less than a miracle that we managed to return safely to India,” he said, hoping that the war will end soon and universities in Ukraine start online classes.
Vinay’s course mate, Paras, who also belongs to Lalru, said they were lucky to escape from the university, as within two hours after their departure, it was hit by a missile and left ablaze. “Through our 1,700km journey to Hungary to board a plane to India, we remained on the edge. We hope all students return to India safely,” he added.
Deputy commissioner Isha Kalia said 23 students from Mohali had crossed the border of Ukraine and will hopefully reach India by Tuesday evening. “We are in touch with the Union ministry of external affairs for the rescue of the female student from Zirakpur still stuck in Sumy,” she added.
The administration has set up two round-the-clock helplines – 0172-221-9505 and 0172-221-9506 – for families of Mohali students stranded in Ukraine. Family members should contact the helplines with all possible information, including stranded person’s Ukraine address, university/college name, father’s name and passport number, which will be forwarded to the external affairs ministry.