Naveen’s Friends: We’re Terrified, Walking to Ukraine Stations with an Indian Flag in Hand

The death of Indian student Naveen Shekhargouda Gyanagoudar in a shelling in Ukraine on Tuesday has terrified the Indian student community, forcing scores of students who were housed in bunkers in Kharkhiv and Kyiv to walk to the nearest train stations in order to travel to safer parts of Western Ukraine.

Naveen’s close friend and one of his nine roommates was Amit Vaishyar. When News18 called Amit’s parents in Karnataka’s Haveri district, they had just finished speaking with their son on the phone.

Along with hundreds of other Indian students, Amit was walking to Kharkhiv station. They are carrying the Indian flag in hopes of receiving assistance from Indian embassy authorities once they arrive at the train station.

Naveen's Friends: We're Terrified, Walking to Ukraine Stations with an Indian Flag in Hand

“We’ve asked Amit to update us every hour.” We know he’s alive when he calls or texts us,” Amit’s father Venkatesh told me over the phone from his house in Chalageri, Haveri district.

Several Indian students who were trapped in Ukraine were able to communicate with their relatives back home.

They were urged to remain in their bunkers until Indian government officials gave them permission to exit. They are, however, rushing to find the earliest available mode of transportation out of Ukraine after Naveen’s death.

Naveen's Friends: We're Terrified, Walking to Ukraine Stations with an Indian Flag in Hand

We had asked them to keep safe and follow the government’s instructions at first. We can’t wait much longer. Shelling erupted directly outside the bunker where Naveen and his companions were staying.

They might be the next to be targeted. “We told them to leave right now and go to safer cities,” Amit’s mother, Savita Vaishyar, told News18 exclusively over the phone.

Srikanth, a classmate and a friend of Naveen’s, was the last person to talk to the killed student, and he detailed the scenario on the ground. The train station in Kharkhiv is 6 kilometres from their home.

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