Mumbai: It was all smiles and relief on the faces of students from Maharashtra who were evacuated from violence-hit Manipur as they landed safely at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Airport in Mumbai on Monday evening.
The Air India evacuation flight departed at 4.30pm from Guwahati in Assam, carrying 25 Maharashtra students, and landed in Mumbai at around 7.30pm. The students were brought from Imphal in Manipur to the neighbouring state.
Anxious parents and relatives, who had arrived at the airport as early as 7pm, waited with bated breath to welcome their children who had been stranded in conflict torn Manipur. They were joined by state government officials and supporters of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
Jyoti Khadpe, in her 50s, had come to receive her son Mohit Khadpe, a student at National Institute of Technology (NIT) Manipur. “I had to see my son now. I was very worried for him. As soon as we heard about the conflict, I couldn’t control myself. How does a mother control herself?” she said.
She added, “I want to convey to all the Manipur people who are fighting over reservations: please stop. Don’t create a situation that affects everyone.”
Manoj Rajaram, another parent, said, “Firing and bombings were happening outside the students’ hostel. We strictly told our kids to not go out of the hostel. We are really thankful to the Maharashtra Government. They have brought back our kids in just one day.”
The Northeastern state has become volatile in the wake of clashes that began earlier this week. More than 16,000 people have been taken to shelters in military compounds in and around the state, where internet services have been shut down.The death toll after ethnic clashes rose to at least 55, with more deaths are being verified
Aayush Dubey, one of the arriving students, said, “Our college was very helpful. The director made sure none of the students were affected. We had scarcity of water but that was taken care of too.”
Gautam Chaurasia, a Bhayander resident studying BTech at NIT Manipur, said, “Initially, everything was terrifying. Bombs were falling down right outside our hostel window. We were scared thinking what if anyone comes in. But the security personnel ensured that we faced no such issue.”
Ashwgandha Parade, a student from Pune Studying at National Sports University Manipur said, “The situation got critical and, being a woman, my family was particularly scared but I was sure that everything will work out. Government has been very helpful and a big thanks to them. Within hours of reaching out to the government, we were provided security. Also, in a matter of one day, we were rescued. We were given the best of facilities by the Shiv Sena in Manipur.”
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