Srinagar- As many as 180 Kashmiri students are stuck in Ukraine as the country’s military facilities, including airports were hit by Russian bombers following President Putin’s order of military operation.
As the distressing dispatches from Kyiv to Kashmir are running high, the stranded Kashmiri students are painting a very dismal picture as the war enters a deadlier phase.
“30 minutes before the Fajr namaz, a loud thud shook the city.” Saqlain Ali Bhat, 4th year medical student told Kashmir Observer over a phone from Ukraine. “And since then the situation keeps on growing worse. Panic is growing with each passing second.”
What sounded like the sudden barrage of bullets was perhaps blasts that had occurred with battling succession. "Around three blasts took place in the morning." Recounts Zaffar Malik, a 4th year student currently pursuing his degree at a Medical College in Odessa city. "And then at noon, there was another blast. It was a missile that had struck a military establishment a kilometer away from our stay."
Dazed about the unfolding situation, Zaffar and his Kashmiri compatriots were initially unable to comprehend the Russian military's armed attack." No one knew that the war had been declared but then when somehow our social media started filling with reports about the attack we came to know about the real happenings--- Russia had come with all its might.
As the dreadful sounds came to an end and the morning progressed further, Kashmiri students had to hear more unfortunate reports. "News started coming that the airspace had been closed, that only meant one thing, going back home was now a dream.”
With the same fear, another Kashmiri student Barkhaiz Bhat said that even though the bombing has somehow subsided for now, the situation still remains grim.
"We've been advised by the Government to evacuate to underground barracks as Russia may attack civilians."
Right now we,some #kashmiristudents and locals #Kharkiv of our society are in the basement underground of our apartment building. Due to expected airstrike by russia in Kharkiv region about 30 km from the border @NasirKhuehami @Umar__sofi @shahfaesal @RuhullahMehdi @OmarAbdullah pic.twitter.com/1b8oTamIuu
— محمد برخيز بھٹ (@berkhaiz_bhat) February 24, 2022
If reports are to be believed then the Russian military has only attacked the military establishments of Ukraine. "They're only targeting military establishments. No one has asked us to go to underground shelters as the situation has not reached to that level as is being reported by media," said Zaffar.
The Kashmiri students, with whom Kashmir Observer spoke, said that they're in constant touch with the Indian embassy. "We've been asked to stay alive until we're evacuated.” Zaffar said.
"Since morning, there has been a huge rush of people lining up in front of stores to buy groceries. The situation in the residential areas is normal. We had even attended our online classes," he said.
Meanwhile, J&K Students' Association has said that 180 Kashmiri students are stranded in Ukraine.
"As 180 Kashmiri students are stranded in #Ukraine. We brought the matter into notice of @OfficeOfLGJandK for earliest evacuation & are in constant touch with them. Rajbhavan initiates a process to bring back all students safely on war footing basis," JKSA spokesperson, Nasir Khuehami wrote on twitter.
"@OfficeOfLGJandK is cooperating sincerely and is in constant touch with @MEAIndia for safe and earliest evacuation of Kashmiri students from Ukraine," he said in another tweet.
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