Safety of 20,000 Indians paramount, expedite evacuation: Rahul Gandhi


New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) Accusing the government of turning away its face in difficult times, the Congress on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to wake up from his slumber and ensure the safe evacuation of over 20,000 Indian students from Ukraine after the Russian attack.

The opposition party asked the government why it had not made arrangements in time to bring 20,000 Indian youths in Ukraine back home safely.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, “The safety of 20,000 Indians stranded in Ukraine is paramount. Government must expedite their evacuation.”


He also shared a video of an Indian student stuck in Ukraine calling upon the government to ensure their safety and evacuation, besides cheaper air tickets for returning home.
Saying that Indians in Ukraine are living in fear and apprehension, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also alleged that Prime Minister Modi was busy in electioneering and not taking care of their safety.

“Turning away its face in every difficult time…And remaining silent has become a habit of the Modi government. Our 20,000 Indian youths in Ukraine are forced to grapple with fear, apprehension and life threatening situations,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
“Why were arrangements not made in time to bring them safely? Is this the ‘self-reliant’ mission,” Surjewala asked.

“His ‘declaration’ during Corona forced people to walk thousands of kilometres to save their lives. His silence now has put at risk 20,000 Indian youths, who are trapped between life and death in Ukraine. Is turning away from the people of the country in trouble, the solution of the ‘Modi model’,” he asked in another tweet in Hindi.]

Surjewala also tweeted a government advisory issued to Indian students in Ukraine where they are asked to follow google maps for finding bomb shelters.

“The absurd abdication of Indians, particularly young students, by Modi Govt has reached its ‘nadir’! The “NEW FARMAN” to Indians in #Ukrain -:
‘..hearing air sirens/bomb maps for list of bomb shelters…’ This is BJP’s ‘Atamnirbhar India’ for citizens in peril,” the Congress leader said.
He said there were heart-wrenching scenes outside the Indian embassy in Kyiv and children were all lined up but no assistance was being given.


“We call upon the prime minister to immediately intervene and wake up of his slumber and to ensure that over 20,000 Indian young children from Ukraine are immediately evacuated,” he said.

“There is no diplomatic assistance being given to our students in different parts of Ukraine. That is not the way that a government abandons its people. The prime minister must answer and wake up and tell us how and by when will our children and our young friends will be evacuated from Ukraine and will be brought back to India safely,” the Congress general secretary said.

Surjewala also shared a video of students stranded outside the Indian embassy in Kyiv carrying their luggage.

He said, “20000 Indian youths in Ukraine are at risk. 2,000 youths are from Haryana. But far from bringing them back, Modi-Khattar governments did not even consider it necessary to reply to my letter dated 17/2/2022. What will Modi-Khattar ji say to the children of Haryana standing outside the Indian Embassy in Kyiv.”

As Russia carries out a military operation in Ukraine, triggering a major confrontation between the two sides, the Indian embassy in Ukraine has asked Indians in that country to maintain calm and remain safe wherever they are.

“The Government of India says – Our 20,000 Indians trapped in Ukraine should stay where they are. Because the government is busy fighting elections right now?” Surjewala said.
“Prime Minister ji, instead of taking care of all, you are busy in election rallies… But we Indians are praying for the well-being of all of you,” he said in another tweet. “This is called…Opportunity in disaster once again?” he said.

The Modi government has neither ensured special flights for students from Ukraine and neither ensured concessional fare and neither ensure embassy help to the children and are charging heavy air fares from students stuck in the conflict area, he said.
Russian troops launched their anticipated attack on Ukraine on Thursday, as President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to consequences they had “never seen”.
Big explosions were heard before dawn in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa. PTI SKC SMN


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