Medical students evacuated from war-torn Ukraine went on hunger strike in Jantar Mantar on Sunday, demanding admission to the country’s medical universities as a one-time measure. They said there are about 12,000 students, except for those in the senior year, and since there are at least 600 medical colleges in the country, each institution was only supposed to house about 20 students.
About 350 people took part in the protest. Of these, 35 students from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan were on hunger strike from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., said RB Gupta, president of the Parent Association of Ukrainian Medical Students (PAUMS). † “We also held a march at Jantar Mantar. We want the help of the government in taking care of our children. My child studied second year in Ivano (Ukrainian city). We are only asking the government to accommodate these children on a one-time basis,” he said.
PAUMS has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard. “There are 15,000-16,000 (approximately) medical students, of whom about 3,000 are of senior year who have been cleared by the NMC (National Medical Commission) to complete their internship in India, which is a breath of fresh air. This leaves us with about 12,000. students must be admitted… There are about 606 medical colleges in India, which means that each college will only have to accommodate 20-21 students,” the letter read.
“This is an unprecedented war situation that requires extraordinary thinking, steps and solutions. We are hopeful that a more lenient stance will be taken in making a decision regarding the housing of all MBBS students returned to Ukraine and our request can be properly accepted and handled accordingly. We will be very obligated,” it added. Thousands of students from India studying at various medical faculties in Ukraine were forced to give up their studies and return home after Russian forces launched an offensive against the Eastern European country.
Also in April, parents of MBBS students staged a protest at Jantar Mantar demanding government intervention in placing their children in medical colleges. In March, a public interest lawsuit was filed with the Supreme Court seeking guidance on the issue of admitting and continuing their studies in India.
The agent also requested instructions from the Center to provide such students with a medical equivalency orientation program. The Indian Medical Association has also recommended Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accommodate such students in Indian medical colleges as a one-time measure.
In a letter to Modi on March 4, the IMA had said that such students should be allowed to attend Indian medical colleges for the remainder of their MBBS courses through an “appropriate paid distribution”, but it should not be seen as an increase in the annual absorption capacity.
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