Kashmiri Girls in Bangladesh: ‘We Fear Being Left Out’

Even as many Kashmiri students have been evacuated from Bangladesh, a lot of them have been left behind in the queue to face the mental trauma of being stranded in a foreign country.

Jyotsna Bharti

ALARM bells ring in pandemic when Srinagar-based newsrooms receive back-to-back SOS pleading evacuation. Senders of these disturbing dispatches are mostly Kashmiri students caught in the covid crisis in some faraway land.

One such mail came from Bangladesh on the afternoon of May 11, 2020.

The sender was a medical student stranded along with her classmates in the country where the viral upsurge has unnerved all and sundry.

“With all the due respect,” the mail read, “we the students of KUMUDINI WOMENS MEDICAL COLLEGE BANGLADESH would like to bring in your kind notice that we have been keenly waiting for the name in the list for evacuation and keeping an eye on that but the second list for evacuation has also been updated and nobody among us is in that list.”

These helpless students are stranded in a campus where Kashmiri girls are in majority.

“We fear being left out,” the distressed medical student said.

“Since already a number of colleges have been taken into the consideration, we all request you to please look into this matter as soon as possible. We would be highly grateful.”

A quick follow-up by Kashmir Observer reveals that around 85 girl students are stranded in Bangladesh’s Kumudini Women’s Medical College.

“Since the time our college got shut on March 16, we’ve been stuck here in the campus hostel,” the college representative told KO over phone from Bangladesh.

“We’ve been left out even as other students were evacuated from this, and other colleges.”

These distressed students had enrolled for the evacuation long back but never made it to the multiple lists.

“There were flights scheduled from here to Srinagar on May 8, 12, and 13, but none of our names figured in the lists,” the college representative said.

When these stranded girls approached Indian officials regarding their names being missed from the evacuation lists, they were asked to “wait”.

But as their wait lingers on, for over two months now, these girls are losing their “mental balance” to the Covid-19 trauma.

“Other than waiting for the fourth flight confirmation list, we can’t do anything else right now,” the student said.

“We feel so helpless and left out. We’re getting paranoid, depressed here. Our parents back home are getting worried for our well-being. We’re approaching you, so that the concerned authorities understand our precarious situation and bring us home.”

Even as these distant cries for homecoming are shrilling at the moment, the twin authorities in Srinagar and New Delhi are maintaining an oft-repeated official line on the growing evacuation outcry: “The matter has been raised with the concerned authorities.”

But as these Kashmiri girl students are endlessly suffering from pandemic problems away from home, the official response clearly looks far from ‘concerned’ and considerate.

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