Bishkek mob violence: Why India and Pakistani students are being attacked in Kyrgyzstan? Explained

Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif expresses concerns about Pakistani students in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and instructs envoy to provide necessary help.

Updated18 May 2024
Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladesh students being attacked in Kyrgyzstan's capital city. (Screengrab from the video posted on X)
Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladesh students being attacked in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city. (Screengrab from the video posted on X)

Protesters amassed in large numbers in Kyrgyzstan's capital city Bishkek after a May 13 clash between locals and international students at a hostel, according to local media reports. Some demonstrators obstructed traffic and vandalized buildings, leading to several arrests by security forces.

It is pertinent to note that Kyrgyzstan is a favored destination for education, particularly in the medical field, attracting numerous students from the Indian subcontinent, including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

As of April 2023, data from various medical universities in Kyrgyzstan shows that around 9,500 students are currently pursuing their studies there, a government report said as quoted by Hindustan Times. 

The Pakistan embassy mentioned that the situation intensified after videos of a fight between Kyrgyz and Egyptian students on May 13 went viral online on Friday. The mob targeted hostels of medical universities in Bishkek, where students from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh reside.

‘Indian students in Kyrgyzstan’

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday stated that the Indian government is monitoring the welfare of Indians students in Bishkek amid mob violence targeting international students erupted Kyrgyzstan's capital city.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Jaishankar wrote, “Monitoring the welfare of Indian students in Bishkek. Situation is reportedly calm now. Strongly advise students to stay in regular touch with the Embassy.”

The students have also been advised to “stay indoors”. Currently, the Indian embassy in Kyrgyz Republic is in contact with the students.

“We are in touch with our students. The situation is presently calm but students are advised to stay indoors for the moment and get in touch with the Embassy in case of any issue…," it said.

‘Pakistani students in Bishkek’

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif voiced "deep concerns" about the situation in Kyrgyzstan's Bishkek and stated that he has instructed the country's envoy there to "provide all necessary help and assistance" to the students.

“Deeply concerned over the situation of Pakistani students in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. I have directed Pakistan's Ambassador to provide all necessary help and assistance. My office is also in touch with the Embassy and constantly monitoring the situation,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter). 

Some social media posts claimed that three Pakistani students were killed in the attack, but the government stated they have not received any reports of fatalities.

“So far, a few hostels of medical universities in Bishkek and private residences of international students including Pakistanis have been attacked. The hostels are inhabited by students from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. There have been reports of light injuries to several students from Pakistan," Pakistan's Kyrgyzstan consulate said in a post on X.

"Despite social media posts about alleged death and rape of Pakistani students, so far, we have not received any confirmed report," it added.

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