Published: 28th July 2022
Ukraine-returned Indian medical students conclude strike at Jantar Mantar, will file petition in SC next
Students are worried about their academic future and have been demanding that they be accommodated in Indian medical colleges so that they can complete their medical education and training
The Ukraine-returned medical students concluded their five-day strike yesterday, July 27. The first four days of the long demonstration took place at Ramlila Ground in Delhi, where the students sat on a hunger strike, while the fifth and the last day of the strike was staged at Jantar Mantar. It was a full-fledged protest, and CPI(M) (Communist Party of India Marxist) MP AM Ariff came to address the gathering.
The Indian students from Ukraine medical universities are stranded in the country because of the ongoing war. They are worried about their academic future and have been demanding that they be accommodated in Indian medical colleges so that they can complete their medical education and training.
The issue has been hanging fire with the government. Though the National Medical Commission (NMC) has stated that it has been trying to devise methods to help these students, more than six months have elapsed and no such provisions have been chalked out.
What happened during the protests?
On July 27, AM Ariff told the students and parents at Jantar Mantar about the time he had taken up their issue in the Parliament. Then, the Health Minister had explained about provisions in the NMC Act, 1956. According to this Act, students from foreign universities cannot be accommodated in Indian medical colleges. Additionally, the NMC Act of 2019 also does not allow students to transfer from one university to another.
Speaking about their last day of protest, RB Gupta, Chairman of PAUMS (Parents Association of Ukraine Medical Students) said, “We requested MP Ariff to consider amending the NMC Act as per the situation. The laws are made in the Parliament and amendments are allowed. So, according to the changing times, the law also needs to be changed.”
RB Gupta also informed that about 30 students had taken part in the demonstration at Jantar Mantar. After the protest was concluded at around 2.30-3 pm, a group of 15-20 students and parents took up the banners and marched on the Sansad Marg (Parliament Street) around 3.30-4 pm. This is when they were detained by the police, as staging protests on the Sansad Marg is prohibited.
Sub-Inspector Manoj from the Delhi Police briefed RB Gupta about the incident, after which the former went to the police station. The police noted the names and details of the students and let them go. However, about six to eight parents were detained by the police for two more hours, from 6 pm to 8 pm, and only after that were allowed to leave.
Next plan of action
As to the future course of action regarding the matter, the Chairman said, “We are planning to approach the Supreme Court. We have contacted the team of Harish Salve (former Solicitor General of India) and Senior Advocate Neha Nagpal has been appointed to represent our case. We are planning to file the petition in the first week of August. The name and detail of every student from all over India who has returned from Ukraine will be mentioned in the petition. The process for collecting these details has already started.”
"The Government of India has also asked for the details of all the Ukraine returnees. So, we are positive that the government is planning something for the students. We met Sanjay Roy, Director of Medical Education and he hinted that the government is planning something for the students, though he didn’t say what is being planned. As we have received a positive reply from him, we are hopeful,” he added.