An Indian student, who refused to return home from Ukraine without his dog, arrived in India early Friday after escaping the war-torn country via an alternative route from Budapest in Hungary.
Rishab Kaushik, a resident of Dehradun who was studying software engineering at the Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics Engineering, struggled to get a clearance for his rescued pet dog ‘Maliboo’, to bring him back as he waited to return to India.
A third-year engineering student, Kaushik had posted a video that was widely circulated on social media platforms, regarding how the Indian embassy in Ukraine and the Centre’s Animal Quarantine and Certification Service (AQCS) in Delhi had been stalling him, “asking for more and more documents”.
He had urged the Indian government to allow a no-objection certificate (NOC) so he can return home safely.
“There was a lot of documentation in India, the procedure was long. But in war-like situations, they should’ve allowed their own citizens. So, I had put up the appeal. A memorandum had come recently which stated that pets and even strays are now being allowed without NOC,” Kaushik told news agency ANI.
His video was even shared by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in an appeal to the Centre to expedite the process for allowing Indians in Ukraine to take their pets along with them on the flight.
The Centre, on Tuesday, issued a memorandum facilitating “a one-time relaxation measure” for Indians to bring back their pet dogs and cats while being evacuated from Ukraine.
A special IndiGo flight from Hungary carrying 219 Indian nationals stranded in conflict-torn Ukraine reached Delhi on Friday.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Nisith Pramanik received them and interacted with the Indian students upon their arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport.
At the same time, many others stranded in Ukraine are still facing problems to return to India along with their pets.
In one of Europe’s worst wars in decades, Russia has continued its military operations in Ukraine for the second week now. The two countries have, however, agreed to a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians.
Several countries including the UK, the US, Canada, and the European Union have condemned Russia’s military operations in Ukraine and imposed sanctions on Moscow and promised Ukraine to help with military aid to fight Russia.