Manipur violence: Students of UP, Bihar, other states share anguish as they await evacuation

Students informed that there is a lack of basic facilities like food and water supply at the hostels where they have been stuck for more than five days now
States are preparing for evacuation | Credit: EdexLive
States are preparing for evacuation | Credit: EdexLive

While most states have either evacuated or are trying to evacuate people from the violence-struck state of Manipur, students from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi and West Bengal are still waiting for the same.

Many of these students have been stuck in hostels of major institutes like the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Manipur, National Sports University, Imphal, and the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Manipur for more than five days now.

“There is a state of panic and I hope we are evacuated soon. So far, we have not received any response from the state government. In my hostel there are students from UP, Bihar, West Bengal and two students from Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu,” said Piyush Ahuja, a final-year student at NIT, Imphal.

Lack of facilities in hostels

Piyush added that there is a lack of basic facilities like food and water supply at the hostel.

“We are not getting any breakfast. We only get two meals per day, lunch between 10 am to 12 pm and dinner between 5 pm to 7 pm. There is a lack of water supply also, both for drinking and domestic use. College authorities are also not doing much about the safety of students,” he added further.

Meanwhile, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal assured the students on Monday, May 8, via Twitter that arrangements are being made to evacuate them safely.

Students at NIT Manipur informed that mess services will be closed by the institute from tomorrow.

“Our warden told us that they will close the mess from tomorrow. Currently, we are only getting rice that was stocked in the hostel mess, we are not getting any chapati. It is also rumoured that the drinking water getting supplied to us is toxic, so we are getting bottled water for consumption. We are storing water for domestic use and just using it for emergencies,” said another student of NIT, Neeraj Pratap, a native of Uttar Pradesh.

Flight ticket rates hike

Students said that due to the ongoing violence, the flight ticket prices have become unaffordable leaving them no choice but to wait for the state governments for evacuation.

“The tickets are costing Rs 18,000 to Rs 25,000 minimum. Usually, tickets from Imphal to Lucknow cost around Rs 7000 to 8000 maximum. The college is also not doing anything to help the students. They announced that the classes have been cancelled and we can book tickets. Students from other states have been evacuated already,” Neeraj added.

Students added that all outbound flights have been completely booked for the next few days.

While some states have arranged special flights to evacuate the civilians out of Manipur, others have made arrangements with private airlines like IndiGo.

What is happening in Manipur?

Violent clashes started in Manipur on Wednesday, May 3, after the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur protested against the demand to extend the scheduled tribe (ST) status to Meiteis. Though the army and Assam Rifles have been deployed to control the situation, students stuck in Manipur say that the situation is still tense.

“Houses and petrol pumps that were in a 400-metre vicinity of our campus have been set on fire. The situation was especially bad from May 3 to 5. Now, they have been saying the situation is under control but it isn’t. We can hear loud sounds throughout the night,” explained Neeraj.

Mohit Rajput, a native of Bihar and a student at National Sports University, Imphal, said that the students have been instructed to switch off the lights at night.

“Even though we have electricity, we are unable to turn the lights on due to the violence. There is a lack of food and water. Even if someone wants to go to the airport, there is no safe facility for them. There is no help or update from the Bihar government yet,” said Manoj.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar announced on Monday, May 8 that the state has made arrangements for a special flight that would evacuate the students from Manipur.

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