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Ukraine returnee medical students to sit on hunger strike

NEW DELHI: Medical students who returned from Ukraine because of a war between Russia and Ukraine will now undertake a five-day hunger strike from Saturday over their demand to get admitted to Indian medical colleges as a one-time measure as per the statement by the Parents Association of Ukraine MBBS Students (PAUMS).

The parents association also claimed that a total of 5,000 students and parents from across 26 states will participate in the upcoming hunger strike from July 23 to July 27.

“Due to war for more than four months in Ukraine, MBBS education has been hampered a lot. As time goes by, students and parents are going through depression, anxiety and many mental issues. Our demand from the Government of India is to accommodate all students in Indian medical colleges,” the PAUMS statement read. The association said it has held multiple protests and also submitted a letter to Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), but in vain. Last month, several students sat on a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar here demanding admissions to the country’s medical colleges.

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“We protested at Jantar Mantar thrice and twice at the National Medical Commission (NMC) office in Dwarka. Also submitted our demand-cum-request letter to PMO, health ministry, education ministry, NMC and President of India. But no assurance to date. Students have now decided to sit on hunger strike,” the statement added. They said there are approximately 12,000 such students, barring those in the final year, and as there are at least 600 medical colleges in the country, each institution needed to accommodate around 20 students.

So many students enrolled in various Ukrainian universities had to leave the country as Russia invaded Ukraine. In April, the parents of these students staged a protest at Jantar Mantar wherein they demanded to accommodate their children into Indian Medical Colleges.

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The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also suggested to the honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi that these students should be accommodated in Indian medical colleges as a one-time measure. In a letter to Modi on March 4, the IMA had said such students should be permitted to go to Indian medical colleges for the remainder of their MBBS courses through an “appropriate disbursed distribution”, but it should not be seen as an upsurge in the annual intake capacity.

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