Kota, Rajasthan is the dream place of every engineering or medical aspirant. Every year around 1.25 lakh students migrate to the town to get the best coaching facilities and fulfill their dreams of getting into excellent engineering and medical colleges. A lot of these students are from families of political and royal backgrounds. Still, the majority of them come from underprivileged families of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Amidst the lockdown, while migrants all over the country struggle to reach their hometown, Kota has a different story to tell. More than 30,000 students are stranded in Rajasthan’s Kota. 7500 of them are from Uttar Pradesh, 6500 from Bihar, 2000 from Haryana, 2000 from Maharashtra, 4000 from Madhya Pradesh, and several others are from different states across the country. The administration in Kota had earlier permitted the students to leave for their native states.
Later, on April 14, the consent was withdrawn because of refusal by the states to let these students in. It made several students rush to their social media and tweet using the hashtag, #SendUsBackHome, and #HelpKotaStudents, tagging the Rajasthan chief minister and the prime minister, in a bid to draw their attention.
The tally for corona positive cases in Rajasthan now stands at 1,937 and needless to say- students are struggling each day to cope up with the fight against the pandemic. Not only their studies have been hampered, they are short of food but are also being harassed by landlords.
One student Anshu Maharaj tweets, “We are not able to study; we are not getting food… we are helpless, plz help.”
Aditya Kumar, tagging the PM and the UP CM, tweeted, “Our hostel owner is asking for money and is troubling us again and again, we have completely fallen out, now only one last hope is from you.”
Contradictably, Sandeep Sharma, BJP MLA, Kota South, said: “There is no shortage of anything for the students here, but after PM Modi’s message, the district administration is not letting them move out from here”.
Concerned by the miserable condition of stranded students in Kota, on April 17, the Uttar Pradesh government extended help to bring back students. Following up, Chief Ministers of five states have agreed to take students of Kota back home. Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Bengal, and Gujarat have decided on this. Ashok Gehlot addressed the media on Tuesday from his residence via a virtual conference and confirmed that after permission from the Centre, all states except Bihar and Bengal ensure the return of their students stranded in Kota. Starting up, Madhya Pradesh sent 150 buses to Kota on Tuesday to bring back 4000 students As of April 20, 362 students were brought back to Uttrakhand from Kota. More than a hundred students from Himachal Pradesh stranded in Kota are set to return home in 9 buses sent by the government. The UP government sent around 2,000 buses to evacuate students who’ve now been home quarantined.
The Governments of Bihar and West Bengal are still reluctant. They say they are helpless since lakhs of migrant workers from their states are also stranded in different parts of the country. Nitish Kumar said allowing inter-state transport was against the purpose of the lockdown. “The way special buses are being sent to ferry students from Kota, it is injustice with the principle of the lockdown,” he said. However, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Hisua in Bihar, Anil Singh, has defied the lockdown guidelines and travelled in his vehicle to Kota to bring back his daughter. According to reports, MLA Anil Singh was issued a special pass by Nawada SDM after which he left for Kota to bring back his daughter.
Though Thousands of Bihari and Bengali students in Kota still see their future blurred, it is quite evident how people in power are again taking advantage of their positions to fulfil their motives. It highlights the classist face of the society where the struggles of the weak fade in front of the power of the rich. It is the right time for people to question. Is it that some lives matter more than others’? Are the lives of students not crucial for the government of Bihar and Bengal? It rightly proves the shady truth of our society where all lives are equal, but some lives are more equal than others.
Image Source – Bhaskar