Sri Lanka airlifts 125 students from Kolkata – Times of India

Kolkata: Sri Lankan students from institutes in Bengal and neighbouring states were airlifted by Sri Lankan Airlines on Thursday afternoon. The flight departed for Colombo at 2.41pm with 125 passengers on board.
While 200-odd Sri Lankans are settled in Kolkata, many students from the Emerald Isle come to Kolkata and Santiniketan to study Pali, Buddhism, homeopathy, philosophy, music and other subjects.
“There are Sri Lankan students in Visva-Bharati, Rabindra Bharati as well as National Institute of Homeopathy in Salt Lake. Many of them have been stranded here due to the lockdown for over a month,” said Kishan Bariki of Mahabodhi Society at College Square in Kolkata.
Several of these students were on board the flight that departed on Thursday. Though some Sri Lankans who reside in India had flown out before international and domestic flight operations were suspended, the likes of Maya Rawat have decided to remain in their adopted home Kolkata though the Covid situation in Sri Lanka appears to be better than India. The country has had 649 confirmed cases and seven deaths, so far.
“Those who live in Kolkata and have family members in Sri Lanka and here continue to stay in the city as they are caught in a dilemma of leaving one set of loved ones for another. Also, with travel restrictions in place and communication on special flights inadequate, some who may have wanted to travel could not do so,” recounted Rawat.
Sri Lanka is the second Saarc country to evacuate its citizens. Bhutan had operated two fights on a single day.
Biman Bangladesh is set to fly into Kolkata to airlift Bangladeshis to Dhaka on May 1 and May 3. With land border sealed and trains suspended, only special flights are available for repatriation.

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