100 Indian students trapped in riot-hit Kyrgyzstan

Monday, June 14, 2010

NEW DELHI - About 100 Indian students are trapped in Kyrgyzstan’s violence-hit Osh and Jalalabad cities and are pleading for authorities to bring them back home saying their lives were in danger.

“Anyone can die at any moment,” Zaheer Khan, an Indian student, told Times Now channel over the phone from Osh.

Indian students, he said, were confined into their homes.

Said student Amrit Das: “The building next to my home is burning. We are stuck inside our home.”

The violence on the street has meant that students can’t go to the airport to catch a flight home.

Sumita, who studies in Jalalabad, said students don’t have any money to spend.

Students complained that authorities have asked them to lock their homes from inside. Some said supply of electricity, water and cooking gas had been blocked.

According to media reports, ethnic violence in south Kyrgyzstan has claimed at least 80 lives and left over 1,000 injured.

Deadly riots swept through Osh and another southern city of Jalalabad Friday and Saturday, Kyrgyz news agency AKI press reported Sunday.

Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbek groups set ablaze cars, and looted stores and markets.

The Kyrgyz interim government, which imposed curfew in the entire Jalalabad region, has allowed police and troops to shoot to kill in order to control the riots.

The humanitarian situation in southern Kyrgyzstan remains complicated as most businesses have closed down and residents have started facing acute shortages of food and medical supplies.

Officials from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) are set to gather Monday to discuss ways to resolve the crisis, including possible deployment of a peacekeeping contingent to the violence-hit Kyrgyzstan.

CSTO, a post-Soviet security bloc, comprises Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

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