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Coronavirus | Students from Kashmir stranded as India seals Bangladesh border

Virus scare: Checkpoints along the India-Bangladesh border have been closed as a safety measure.

Virus scare: Checkpoints along the India-Bangladesh border have been closed as a safety measure.   | Photo Credit: AFP

They were on their journey home from medical colleges in Bangladesh

A group of 75 Indian medical students from Kashmir were stranded at the Benapole border crossing of Bangladesh on Tuesday as India shut all land crossings with neighbouring countries.

The students were returning home from medical colleges in Mymensingh and Dhaka and were scheduled to reach Kolkata to board afternoon Kolkata-Srinagar flights, which they missed as they remained stranded at Benapole in Bangladesh’s Jessore district.

“We journeyed for 10 hours in buses to reach the Benapole-Petrapole crossing and we learnt of the closure of the border check-posts on the way,” said a fourth year student, explaining that the medical colleges in Bangladesh had asked students to vacate hostels in view of the COVID-19 crisis. “We were assured by authorities that they would let us enter India but now we are being denied,” the student, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added.

Bangladesh has so far detected 33 cases of COVID-19 infection. Out of that, three patients had died and five had recovered fully while the rest remain under observation. The medical student said that they required urgent help in view of the total transport halt that India was set to begin from the midnight of Tuesday. Apart from the Indian decision to suspend rail and air services, Bangladesh too will suspend train services from Tuesday evening.

That apart, Bangladesh will also suspend domestic air services from midnight of Tuesday. In view of the unprecedented suspension of air, road transport and railways in both India and Bangladesh, the students urged for prompt action from the Indian authorities to help them reach Srinagar.

Of the stranded students, a few are from institutions in Dhaka while most are from the Community Based Medical College of Mymensingh, which is a private medical college popular with students from India.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:57:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-students-from-kashmir-stranded-as-india-seals-bangladesh-border/article31156496.ece

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