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India making 'all efforts' to evacuate its citizens

As ethnic clashes continue in Southern Kyrgyzstan, India is making "all efforts" to evacuate over 100 Indians, mostly students, stranded in the violence-hit areas where the death toll in five days of rioting has reached 124.See map | Listen to podcast

world Updated: Jun 14, 2010 21:38 IST

As ethnic clashes continues in Southern Kyrgyzstan, India is making "all efforts" to evacuate over 100 Indians, mostly students, stranded in the violence-hit areas where the death toll in five days of rioting has reached 124.

The Indians, a majority of them students, are trapped in Kyrgyzstan's southern Osh city, which has been ripped by street fighting and arson.

"All efforts are being made to safely evacuate the Indians stranded there to Bishkek," official sources said.

Indian diplomatic sources in the Kyrgyz capital said the mission is arranging for a special aircraft to fly out Indians from Osh. "As soon the situation permits, the Indians will be flown out to safety," sources said.

They also maintained that "everything possible will be done to ensure the well being and safety of the Indians."

The mission is in close touch with those trapped in the violence-hit city as well as with the concerned authorities in that country, including their foreign ministry, to ensure safety of the Indian community.

"About 116 Indian nationals are stranded in Southern Kyrgyzstan, due to the ongoing difficult law and order situation. These include around 15 students in the city of Jalal-Abad and around 99 students, a professor and a businessman, in the city of Osh," Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement in New Delhi.

"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 said.

The sources said the mission was also closely monitoring the situation in the nearby city of Jalalabad near the Uzbek border, where the authorities yesterday clamped a state of emergency till June 22.

Kyrgyz officials have put the casualties at 124 deaths, with as many as 1,685 people injured. However, ethnic Uzbeks alleged many more had been killed and accused government forces of helping Kyrgyz mobs in their deadly rampage.

Ferghanaru web site quoting its sources in the Uzbek dominated areas said "death toll runs in hundreds." It said that scores of dead bodies were lying on the streets of small towns which have compact Uzbek population.

The interim president Roza Otunbayeva has also conceded that the death toll could be higher than official figures as the interim government struggles to stem the worst ethnic clashes since the end of the Soviet Union.

Interim Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva's provisional government had over the weekend given security forces shoot-to-kill orders to protect civilians, amid growing calls from foreign leaders and aid groups to end the clashes.