See if something could be done: SC to Centre on plea seeking evacuation of Indians from Ukraine (Ld)

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The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Attorney General K.K. Venugopal to look into a petition seeking evacuation of Indian students stranded in the war-torn Ukraine.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that his client with 250 other students from National Medical University in Odessa, Ukraine, are stranded near the Ukraine-Romania border and they are facing issues crossing over to Romania.

The counsel submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana that students are stranded amid freezing temperatures, and struggling to access food and water.

The AG asked the petitioner’s counsel why his client and others are struggling to cross the Ukrainian border, what is the hindrance? He added that the Indian ministers have gone to the neighbouring countries of Ukraine to coordinate the evacuation process of Indians stuck in the war-torn country.

The AG asked, “Why are they not crossing over?”

The counsel replied, “They are not allowed to cross over (the Ukrainian border)”.

The AG pressed that Ukraine is allowing Indians to cross over to neighbouring countries. The counsel added that flights are only operating from Poland and Hungary.

The Chief Justice asked the AG to look into the contents of the petitions and “see if something could be done”.

Earlier, during the day the top court had told the counsel that the court feels bad for the people who are suffering and the Indian students, who are stuck in Ukraine amid the ongoing war, but it cannot direct the Russian President to stop the war.

A plea was mentioned before a bench headed by the Chief Justice claiming that the Indian government is only focussing on evacuating students from a certain part of Ukraine.

The counsel submitted that students are stranded in other parts of the war-torn country. The bench, also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli, said “What can the court do?… Can we issue a direction to the President of Russia to stop the war?”

The counsel further added that these students should also be evacuated and the government should also provide care for them. The bench asked the counsel, “Ask, which government to take care?”

The bench said it has all sympathies with the students in Ukraine, and the Indian government is doing its work. The bench added that it will seek the Attorney General’s view in the matter.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday: “Our Embassy in Ukraine is in continuous touch with Indian nationals in Ukraine… We have requested support from the Ukrainian authorities in arranging special trains for taking out students from Kharkiv and neighbouring areas to the western part of the country.

“We have been coordinating effectively with the countries in the region, including Russia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova. A large number of Indian nationals have been evacuated from Ukraine in the last few days.

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