India, Pakistan advise students in Kyrgyzstan to stay indoors amid mob violence

The initial clash at a hostel led to social media outrage, sparking a mob to target accommodations housing international students from countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

| Updated: 18 May, 2024 2:25 pm IST

NEW DELHI : Following a violent dispute on May 13 between locals and international students,Bishkek experienced significant unrest with protesters blocking roads and damaging property. 

The violence was ignited by a viral video showing a fight between Kyrgyz and Egyptian students, resulting in several arrests and heightened concerns among foreign students in the city.

The initial clash at a hostel led to social media outrage, sparking a mob to target accommodations housing international students from countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Security forces intervened, arresting multiple demonstrators to restore order.

In response, the embassies of India and Pakistan issued advisories for their students, urging them to stay indoors and maintain communication with embassy officials. India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar noted on X (formerly Twitter), “Monitoring the welfare of Indian students in Bishkek. The situation is reportedly calm now. Strongly advise students to stay in regular touch with the Embassy.”

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also expressed serious concerns, directing the Pakistani ambassador in Bishkek to provide the necessary support. He stated, “Deeply concerned over the situation of Pakistani students in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. My office is also in touch with the Embassy and constantly monitoring the situation.”

Local media, including Kaktus Media, reported that Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs is increasing oversight and penalties for immigration law violations. The unrest appears to stem from growing tensions over the presence of South Asian migrants, with around 14,500 Indian and 10,000 Pakistani students currently studying in Kyrgyzstan’s medical universities.

The Pakistan embassy confirmed that the situation intensified after the fight’s video went viral, leading locals to protest against the perceived lenient treatment of the foreigners involved. Subsequently, police detained three foreign students for misbehavior and released a video of them apologising.

Despite the initial turmoil, authorities report that the situation has now calmed. Both Indian and Pakistani embassies continue to monitor their nationals’ safety, advising students to remain vigilant and indoors while the situation stabilises.

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