Kashmiri students stranded on Bangladesh defied Indian high commission’s advise to remain stay put

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 A group of some 100 Indian students from medical colleges in Bangladesh will not be allowed to enter the country through a border crossing in West Bengal in view of restrictions in movements from other countries and within India, people familiar with developments said on Tuesday.

The students, mostly from Kashmir, have been stranded on the Bangladeshi side of Benapole border crossing since Monday evening following the sealing of the frontier. The students posted a video on social media on Tuesday asking the external affairs minister and home minister to allow them to enter the country.

“We are 70 Kashmiri students. We study in various medical colleges across Bangladesh. We are stuck at the Benapole border since 6 pm on Monday. Our colleges and hostels are closed and we were asked to vacate the hostels and go back home. But the borders are closed and we are not allowed to enter. We are hungry and will wait at the border till we are allowed to enter,” one of the students said in the minute-long video.

DIG SS Guleria of the Border Security Force (South Bengal frontier headquarters) said the number of students at the Benapole crossing had increased throughout Tuesday to 100.

“But the BSF has nothing to do with it. The Bureau of Immigration will have to take a call,” Guleria said. A person familiar with developments in New Delhi said: “The students are advised to go back to their hostels in the interest of their health and safety and also of the community.”

The people cited above, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the principal of one of the concerned colleges in Bangladesh had denied reports that the students were asked to vacate their hostels and confirmed they would be accommodated in the hostels.

“The students reached the border despite advice to the contrary from the Indian high commission in Bangladesh and knowing fully well the restrictions in force in India due to Covid-19,” the person cited above said.

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