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How Kashmiri Students Are Covering War in Ukraine

How Kashmiri Students Are Covering War in Ukraine

Shifted to basements after Russia and Ukraine went to war, Kashmiri students have become emergency newsmen.


SRINAGAR — Coming from the conflict zone has made Musaib a strife-hardened individual unlike his counterparts from the Indian mainland getting fretful over the situation in their war-torn campus. 

Capturing different shades and sides of the explosive escalation in Ukraine, Musaib has been sending home different war visuals. 

“There’s always an element of misinformation in any escalation as we’ve seen in Kashmir over the years,” Musaib said. 

“So we’re just reporting the situation as it exists on the ground.”

In fact, many of these students have become point-persons for media professionals in Kashmir and elsewhere. 

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Based on their ‘ground reporting’, the media houses are running the global event with a local perspective. 

However, getting Live with reporters amid shelling isn’t always easy. 

“And then there’re these nagging reporters from Kashmir, especially those Facebook journalists holding mikes,” Musaib said in an irked voice.

“They’ve become a pain in our neck. They keep calling us every now and then for updates as if we are their recruits. We are in the middle of the war and these people want us to update them for their petty Likes and Shares minute after minute. These reporters should show some compassion and sensibility.”

Most of these students are reporting the war crisis from subways turned shelters.

“Our agent called us amid bombing and asked us to go to the subway and stay there for some time,” Neehan, a student at Kharkiv National Medical University, told Mountain Ink.

“Things were normal until we heard explosions at around 3:30 on Thursday morning. The explosions clearly came from far off places. But we didn’t panic. Being Kashmiris, we’ve grown up hearing blasts.” 

When Russian Army launched a massive military operation on February 24, around 180 to 200 Kashmiri students studying in colleges and universities across Ukraine got stuck.

“Indian embassy asked us to get all the necessary items stocked as all the airlines and the markets are shutting down,” Asif, another Kashmiri student, told MI.

“We went to a subway and are likely to stay here for some time due to escalation. Situation is worse in border areas.” 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has already declared martial law in the country which has added to the crisis.

Notably, after Russia invaded Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, it has been supporting an anti-Kyiv separatist movement that has led to around 13000 killings so far. It has now led to the war.

Three days before the armed clash, Russian President Vladimir Putin had said his country has recognized two Ukrainian breakaway regions, Luhansk and Donetsk, as independent states. 

It was followed up by pushing troops into the country and surrender by the Ukraine army. Putin’s announcements and actions have been condemned globally.

Meanwhile, the office of LG Manoj Sinha has “started the process to bring back all the students studying at Ukraine on fast track basis”.

While reporting the war in their campus home, Kashmiri students are repeatedly pleading for immediate evacuation. 

“The situation might become uglier tomorrow,” Musaib, a Kashmiri student reporting war, said. 

“Most of my Indian counterparts are shaking. They don’t have the experience to live in such hostile situations. Government of India should launch rescue operation immediately.”

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