Published: 13th November 2018
We live in constant fear: Indian medicos in Kazakhstan after the mysterious death of classmate
Indian students in Kazakhstan are terrified after muggings and assaults have besieged the community, the latest of which was Hemant Kumar, a 23-year-old medical student in the country
Days after a 23-year-old Indian student was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Kazhakstan, Indian students in two prominent universities in the country say that they live in a 'state of fear'. Hemant Kumar, a resident of Bharatpur in Rajasthan was pursuing a course equivalent to MBBS in India at the Asfendiyarov Kazakh National Medical University. He was found dead on November 9 with his throat slit.
Alleging that Hemant was killed by a local gang, Manish Singh*, Hemant's friend said that the group of Indian students at the varsity was distraught and shaken. "The hostel facility is good but there is no security at all. The students here live in fear. Three months ago, a female Indian student was groped by a group of men. The local gangs always confront us and ask for our phones and money," he explained, "There is no Indian Students' Association, so we are completely helpless," he added. The lack of safety in the college hostel and the absence of a strong Indian student association have also aggravated the students' plight.
@SushmaSwaraj— Hemlata Singh (@Hemlata47711708) November 10, 2018
Ma'am my brother Hemant Kumar(B.A. 3rd yr.student, MBBS)was allegedly found murdered in Kazakh National Medical University Almaty, Kazakhstan.The authorities are not responding to our concerns...Please intervene in this matter and do justice.
Currently, there are over 800 Indian students studying at two medical universities in Kazakhstan. A lot of them apply to these universities because it is considerably easier to get in — sans any admission tests — and only costs a few thousand dollars. Hemant was one of those students until he ended up dead. "The police and the authorities are saying different things pertaining to Hemant's death. The college authorities say it is a case of suicide and refuse proper investigation, but how can a boy cut his own throat?" queried an anguished Singh, over a WhatsApp call from Kazakhstan.
Indian medical student hemant kumar died today in almaty kazakhstan of kazakh national medical university #@sushmaswaraj dear ma'am cause of death is still not known , kindly go through these matter!!— Anfiya khan (@khan_anfiya) November 9, 2018
However, much to the contrary, another Indian student at the same university — albeit a senior of Hemant's — had a different tale to tell, "It has been a while since Hemant and I have met as he was a third-year student and I'm in my fourth year. The University has acknowledged the fact that it is not a suicide. The Embassy has been very supportive and his body will be flown to India in 3-4 days," he told us over another WhatsApp call.
@tvkhabar24 An indian medical student of kazakh national medical university found dead in almaty city ,reason behind this is unknown until now !!!— Rishikant Sharma (@Rishika00008337) November 9, 2018
The university refuted Hemant's friends' claims and said that his death was, in fact, a case of suicide, "23-year-old Hemant Kumar was indeed a third-year student at the international medical faculty of our university. On the morning of November 9, the owner of a rented apartment with injuries discovered him. In a semi-conscious state, he was taken to the emergency hospital, where he died during the operation," the university said to a local Kazakh newspaper.
Their website mentions that they had formed a Department for Foreign Students with five staff members, in 2016, with "control over the residence of foreign students in the hostel and settlement of conflict situations and disputes, representation and protection of the interests of foreign students in official bodies," listed as their functions. The varsity reportedly stated that the students' claim about the lack of safety in the college hostel was unwarranted, "The statements of the students that the university does not ensure their safety, are unfounded and do not correspond to reality,” the report said.
The students have, however, approached the Indian Embassy in Kazakhstan and have tweeted to the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's Twitter handle, asking for the embassy to step up. According to the PinkCity Post, Hemant's family approached Bharatpur MP Bahadur Singh Koli for help and he has assured that the boy's body would be brought back at the earliest.
(*Names changed on request)