Nearly 100 J&K students at Bangla border, High Commission tells them to stay back

Shubhajit Roy, Ravik Bhattacharya
Nearly 100 J&K students at Bangla border, High Commission tells them to stay back

Stranded Kashmiri students at the international passenger terminal at Benapole land port in Bangladesh. (Express)

With India’s international borders sealed since March 15 to check the spread of coronavirus, nearly 100 medical students, all from different parts of Jammu & Kashmir, were stranded at the Benapol-Petrapol border on the Bangladesh side.

The students said that their medical colleges had shut down due to the coronavirus scare and that they were told to leave the hostels and return home.

The Indian High Commission in Dhaka, however, said that it had spoken to the college authorities, who have agreed to keep the hostels open for the Indian students. The High Commission advised the students to not undertake any travel and to not try and cross into India.

Read| PM Modi declares lockdown: ‘Crossing your home’s lakshmanrekha will invite COVID-19 inside’

In a series of tweets, the Indian High Commission said, “We are working to contain spread of COVID19. Our PM has urged all to ‘Take precautions & not panic’. In interest of public health, personal safety & safety of loved ones, we urge all to stay safe in present residences and avoid non-essential movement/travel. We urge Indian students also to stay in your hostels & stay protected. If you stay safe, we can break the chain.”

“HC had reached out to principals of colleges & they have assured that hostel facilities continue to be available for Indian students. We would like to reiterate that students should not undertake travel to try & cross into India,” it reiterated, in response to questions from students.

The students, around 35 of them girls, said they had been sitting since 6 am with their luggage at the international passenger terminal at the land port in Benapole, Bangladesh. Across Benapol is Petrapol in Basirhat in West Bengal.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee extended the selective lockdown to throughout the state until March 31.

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