Published: 04th July 2022
Ukraine-returned medical students plan a series of protests, to sit on hunger strike from July 16
The NMC has not yet updated on the framework it was supposed to deliberate on regarding these students. Irate parents and students from across India plan more protests in Delhi this month
There has been no respite for Indian students who returned from Ukraine due to the Russian invasion. Unable to go back, these students are worried about their future.
For the last few months, the students have been demanding for the Indian government to accommodate them in medical colleges here, so that they can complete their degrees and practice. The parents and students have been staging demonstrations to urge the government to act soon. The matter has even been taken to the Supreme Court.
The apex court directed the National Medical Commission (NMC) to frame guidelines for foreign medical students in India, with June 29 as the deadline for NMC to submit its reply. The deadline is past, but there are no updates regarding this matter.
On June 26, Sunday, about 35 medical students from Ukraine sat on a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in Delhi from 10 am to 4 pm. They complained that nothing was being done by the government, and proposed that they be accommodated in the Indian medical colleges and be allowed to finish their medical education.
In a video of the protest shared by RB Gupta, President of the Parents’ Association of Ukraine Medical Students (PAUMS), a student was seen stating, “I cannot appear for NEET again. I have already completed my fourth year and I have qualified for the fifth and the last year. The government cannot expect me to read Class XI and XII syllabus again and start my medical education from the beginning.”
Another student was heard asking, “We came back because of the war. It was not our fault. Then why should we suffer like this?”
In a conversation with Edexlive, RB Gupta said, “If nothing is done in the matter soon, we are already planning to file a PIL in the Supreme Court. We are also planning to stage more protests. The monsoon Assembly session starts on July 18. We are planning to sit on a hunger strike from July 16 at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. Hundreds of students will participate in this protest from across India,” when asked about their future course of action since the Supreme Court’s deadline to the NMC expired and no updates were presented.
PAUMS had also carried out a protest march on June 26 after the hunger strike ended. The association additionally stated their demands to the Delhi Police to submit at the Prime Minister’s Office on June 27. RB Gupta also said that the NMC has asked the apex court for an extension in the deadline till July 8. “So, we are hopeful that they will come up with something positive.”
However, Sonia Lumba, the parent belonging to the association, said, “There is no official information on this. It is just hearsay that the NMC has asked for an extension. But we don’t know for sure. NMC has given nothing in writing.” She also informed that the students were going to gather in front of the Health Ministry in a protest on July 5.
“There will be students gathering from many states for this protest. And this is what we can do in order to keep the government aware of our issues. Nobody understands our pain and no one is bothered about issues. Our children went to Ukraine because the medical colleges here do not have enough seats and the private colleges are extremely expensive. They have scored very well there, much better than the Indian students. Students here get a maximum score of 350, but our children get up to 400-450. So, doubting their merit is not fair. To change this attitude, we have been asking for time to meet the government and discuss amendments in the NMC Act, but the government is not permitting us a meeting,” she added.
Sonia is angry that the parents and students have not been granted permission to meet the authorities. She said, “We have tried several times to meet officials at the NMC and the Health Ministry, but were always denied permission. We have sent around 100-150 e-mails to the NMC, but there hasn’t been any response yet. We had also protested in front of the NMC on June 24 and June 27, and on those days too, they did not allow us to meet the officials. On June 24, only a single girl student was let into the office, and the officials were very rude to us. They even stated that the girl could talk about her issues, and we parents were not qualified enough to do so.”
Meanwhile, Trisha, a medical student from Ukraine said, “I don’t feel very hopeful about the situation. We hear that the NMC has asked for an extension till July 8 from the Supreme Court. The court was on vacation all this while and reopened on July 4. So, maybe something will be done after all. But I have my doubts because it has been so long that nothing has been done, and then the June 29 deadline also expired and there are still no updates.”