The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to look into a plea seeking help for Indian students who have been stuck on the Romanian border while attempting to flee Ukraine, The Indian Express reported.
“Please use your good offices... We will send a copy by special messenger to AG [attorney general],” the court said. “See if you can do some help”.
A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli was hearing a plea filed by an Indian girl living in Ukraine’s Odesa city. The girl and other students have been stuck in Ukraine without food and money after being prevented from crossing over to Romania.
Several Indians, mostly medical students, are trapped in Ukraine as Russia is pressing on with its invasion of the former Soviet country. Many of them have alleged of being tortured by Ukrainian authorities and prevented from crossing into neighbouring countries.
While describing their ordeal on social media, they have also accused the Indian government of not doing enough to help them cross over to Romania and other neighbouring nations. The government has been carrying out evacuation through these countries as Ukraine has closed its airspace for civil aviation.
On Thursday, Advocate AM Dar told the court that his client and other students – most of them girls – have been stuck for six days.
“The temperature there is -7 degrees [Celsius],” he told the court, according to The Hindu. ‘They are without food, water or money. Please intervene with the government to evacuate them.”
Attorney General Venugopal told the court that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to presidents of Russia and Ukraine. He said that the Indian government has also sent a minister to Romania to ensure that students crossing over from Ukraine are evacuated.
“So what I want to know is are they being prevented from crossing over?” he asked.
To this, Dar said they were being stopped at the Ukraine-Romania and they were unable to cross over.
“This is strange,” the attorney general said. “So far as Ukraine is concerned, they are allowing everyone to cross into neighbouring countries.”
Venugopal added that he will look into the matter.
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‘Stand united with government’: Opposition leaders
Meanwhile, Opposition leaders on Thursday said they stood united with the government after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar briefed a 21-member consultative committee of the ministry on the Ukraine crisis and the Centre’s efforts to evacuate stranded Indian citizens, reported PTI.
The meeting was attended by nine MPs from six parties. Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla briefed them on the situation, reported NDTV.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor and Anand Sharma, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi and Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party’s Beeseti Venkata Satyavathi were among those who attended the meeting.
“We all are united,” Tharoor told reporters after the meeting.
In a tweet, the Congress MP said: “Excellent meeting of the Consultative Committee on External Affairs this morning on Ukraine. My thanks to Dr S Jaishankar and his colleagues for a comprehensive briefing and candid responses to our questions and concerns. This is the spirit in which foreign policy should be run.”
Chaturvedi also described the meeting as “very good”. We were well briefed and stand united with the government, she said.
Satyavathi said that the ministry has assured the consultative committee that students who are stuck in Ukraine would be evacuated in the next few days.