‘Indian flag got us home safely’, say students evacuated from Ukraine
Students being evacuated from strife-torn Ukraine expressed their relief and gratitude on their return to India even as they sought help for those left behind.
The government has launched an all-out effort to bring back its citizens from Ukraine following the invasion by Russian forces. The mission has been named ‘Operation Ganga’.
Students returning from Ukraine via Romania said they managed to make an Indian flag with spray paint and curtains to put it on their vehicles while leaving Ukraine. The students said that the Indian flag helped them leave the country safely.
“The moment we got on the bus, we put two Indian flags in front of the bus. It worked! We got free clearance,” a student told news agency ANI. “When they saw the Indian flag, they understood that we are students from India who came to study here, and then no one blocked us.”
Another student who returned to India on the same flight said he managed to make the Indian tricolour from whatever that was available in nearby shops. “ I ran to the closest shop and got 6 spray paint (cans). Then I went to another shop and got a curtain. Then I made the Indian flag on the curtain.”
“We displayed the flag on the bus, sang the national anthem, and left for India,” he narrated.
“The government is helping us. We are happy! But the flight frequency should be increased. People are facing trouble in Romania and the Indian embassy should help us there. It will be great," said another student after arriving in Bucharest, Romania.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday, had called for the Indian Air Force to join the evacuation efforts under Operation Ganga.
The ministry of external affairs on Sunday set up 24x7 control centres to assist the evacuation of Indian nationals from war-torn Ukraine through border crossing points with Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovak Republic. Here are the helpline numbers.
A dedicated Twitter handle, ‘OpGanga Helpline’ has also been activated.
Many other states have set up dedicated helpline numbers for families of students stuck in Ukraine. Here are the details.