Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

As many as six Odia students heaved a sigh of relief as they landed in Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar on Sunday after being evacuated from violence-hit Manipur.

Upon their arrival in Bhubaneswar, the students, who were pursuing education in Manipur and were rescued in the first phase, described the terrible ordeal and difficulties they had to endure in the violence-hit Northeast state.

Narrating her ordeal, a student said, “I have been pursuing BSC in Agriculture in Central Agricultural University. The situation in Manipur was pretty intense for us. We were hearing gunshots and bombings around us. It was so terrifying that we were spending sleepless nights. We had requested the Odisha government to rescue us. Thanks to the effort by the State government, we could return to Odisha and save our lives.”

“The situation was very critical outside. There were gunshots and stone pelting all around. The Rapid Action Force did a commendable job and protected us from the violence. However, to get panicked amid the violence is natural. We were not able to eat and sleep in our hostels due to explosions all around us,” said another returnee.

The students were on cloud nine after having a close shave from violence and reaching their home soil.

“It was certainly a great relief to return to Odisha again. The miscreants even launched an attack on our bus while we were coming to the airport. Stones and pieces of glass were hurled at us. Somehow, we could manage to save our lives,” said a student.

Sharing her horrific experience, another student said, “Not only Odia students but also the local students are traumatized due to the riot in Manipur. It doesn’t seem that things will be in control soon. Quick evacuation of the students from the other states is the need of the hours.”

Though the students have returned safely, they are hopeful that things will normalize soon. They are sure that they will again get an opportunity to complete their study at various universities in Manipur once things are under control.

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