Back in Bangladesh for MBBS exams, group of Indian students stuck in bus waiting for quarantine hotel

The students said they returned to the country after being assured by their colleges that they will either be quarantined at their college hostels or government-nominated hotels according to the health regulation of Bangladesh.

More than 50 Indian students who entered Bangladesh Saturday to take their medical exams in colleges affiliated to the University of Dhaka were stranded in a border town  for hours after they were asked to quarantine at government-nominated hotels in Brahmanbaria district which are not yet ready.

The 53 students, all enrolled in MBBS course in Bangladesh colleges and hailing from different parts of India, said they crossed over via the Akhaura border checkpoint in Tripura around 1 pm and completed the immigration process and were carrying negative RT-PCRs reports and vaccination certificates, but have not been able to get the rooms allotted.

“We have been kept inside the buses since we crossed over and are not being allowed to move out. This is despite our colleges assuring strict quarantine in our respective campuses,” said Nuwalid Nissar Lala, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, who studies MBBS at Jahurul Islam Medical College in Kishoreganj district.

The students claimed the Bangladesh land port authorities have withheld their passports too after crossing over. The group includes 21 girls.

However, sources in Brahmanbaria told indianexpress.com that it is common procedure in Bangladesh now to keep the passports of foreign nationals undergoing quarantine. The travel documents are handed back after 14 days when they get a negative RT-PCR test done.

The students said they returned to the country after being assured by their colleges that they will either be quarantined at their college hostels or government-nominated hotels according to the health regulation of Bangladesh. The hotel they have been allotted in Brahmanbaria is charging Rs 3500 for a twin-sharing non-AC room.

Mir Hashim, another student going back to Jahurul Islam Medical College, said the facility does not seem to be a hotel. “It is filthy and unhygienic. We are prone to contracting coronavirus there. They have taken our passports so that we complete our institutional quarantine. The local authorities have kept us in a bus in an open market now,” he told indianexpress.com on the phone.

Nissar’s classmate Faiza Eram, a resident of Kolkata, said the rooms are situated in a shopping plaza in the market. “During the quarantine period, we are supposed to study for our MBBS professional exams which are tentatively scheduled to be held from June 29. The rooms do not have attached bathrooms and adjacent rooms have been allotted to vendors who are not under quarantine,” she said, adding that they fear for their safety and health at the location. “It is 8 pm and we are still on the bus.”

The Anwer Khan Modern Medical College (AKMMC), Dhaka, had issued a letter on June 7 to students Prasanna Das and Mohd Anwarul Haq, assuring that they will either be quarantined at their college hostel or government-nominated hotels according to the health regulation of Bangladesh. Das is among those stuck in the bus.

“The college has taken necessary measures to provide appropriate facilities to our students, but we have to abide by the government regulations. We are deeply concerned about the students’ health and safety. Around 13 students who had come from Nepal are already in quarantine at a hotel in Brahmanbaria,” said Saikat Rana, administrative officer, AKMMC.

With ENS, Agartala

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