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116 Indians stranded in Kyrgyzstan, India assures all help

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, June 14 (IANS) - The Indian mission in Kyrgyzstan was doing its best to ensure the well-being of 116 Indians, mostly students, trapped in the Central Asian republic's Osh and Jalalabad towns after ethnic riots, the government said Monday.

The External Affairs Ministry clarified in a statement that the Indians in southern Kyrgyzstan included 15 students in Jalalabad and 99 students, a professor and a businessman in Osh.

"Our mission is in close and regular touch with several Indian nationals as well as with relevant departments of the Kyrgyz government, including the ministry of foreign affairs and security agencies," said the ministry.

"Everything possible is being done to ensure the safety and well-being of the Indian nationals, within the constraints posed by the difficult ground situation.

"Our mission in Bishkek is monitoring the developments closely and additional steps would be taken as soon as the situation becomes more conducive," it added.

Indian students trapped amid street violence in southern Kyrgyzstan are getting increasingly worried about their security.

According to media reports, ethnic violence in south Kyrgyzstan has claimed at least 117 lives and left over 1,000 injured.

"Anyone can die at any moment," Zaheer Khan, an Indian student, told Times Now channel over the phone from Osh. Indian students, he said, were confined to their homes.

Said student Amrit Das: "The building next to my home is burning. We are stuck inside our home." The violence on the street has meant that students can't go to the airport to catch a flight home.

Sumita, who studies in Jalalabad, said students don't have any money to spend.

Students complained that authorities have asked them to lock their homes from inside. Some said supply of electricity, water and cooking gas had been blocked.

Deadly riots swept through Osh and another southern city of Jalalabad Friday and Saturday, Kyrgyz news agency AKIpress reported Sunday.

Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbek groups set ablaze cars, and looted stores and markets.

The Kyrgyz interim government, which imposed curfew in the entire Jalalabad region, has allowed police and troops to shoot to kill in order to control the riots.

The humanitarian situation in southern Kyrgyzstan remains complicated as most businesses have closed down and residents have started facing acute shortages of food and medical supplies.

Officials from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) are set to gather Monday to discuss ways to resolve the crisis, including possible deployment of a peacekeeping contingent to the violence-hit Kyrgyzstan.

CSTO, a post-Soviet security bloc, comprises Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

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