In Samarkand, a Student Jumped out of a Bus on the Way to Forced Labor in the Cotton Harvest

A student of the socio-economic department of Samarkand State University, Dilkash Khurramov, jumped out of the bus taking him to forced labor picking cotton in the Pastdargam district of Samarkand region. According to the university students who reported this case to radio Ozodlik, Dilkash Khurramov was hospitalized for his injuries. The university’s leadership confirmed that the student was hospitalized but said that he sustained his injuries while fainting.

Dilkash Khurramov, a student of group 301 of the socioeconomic faculty of Samarkand State University, suffered severe injuries on October 22 when he was traveling with his classmates for forced cotton picking in the Pastdargam district of Samarkand region.

According to eyewitnesses, Dilkash Khurramov jumped out of the bus, which was moving at a high speed:

“At seven o’clock in the morning we left the university in a column of several buses to go to the Pastdargam district. The bus in which Dilkash was traveling was in front of our bus. When we left the city of Samarkand, the column of buses in front of us suddenly stopped. There was screaming, everyone began to get off the buses. We also got out and saw what happened. According to students who were on the same bus with Dilkash, he opened the door while the bus was moving and jumped out,” said a student at the Samarkand State University.

According to Dilkash Khurramov’s classmates, he had asked the dean not to send him to pick cotton due to the worsening of his health, but was refused:

“Dilkash told the dean and the new head of his group about the deterioration of his health, but the dean forced him to write an explanatory note and said that if he did not go to pick cotton, he would be expelled from the university. Despite the deterioration of health, Dilkash gathered with the others to go to pick cotton,” a Samarkand student told Ozodlik.

One of the teachers of Samarkand State University, who asked to remain anonymous, told radio Ozodlik that Dilkash Khurramov was hospitalized with severe injuries:

“When he jumped out of the bus, he broke his arm and cut his face. As far as I know at the hospital the cut on his face was stitched up. Now he remains in the hospital,” the teacher said.

An employee of Samarkand State University who did not identify himself confirmed the information that Dilkash Khurramov, a student of this university, received injuries on his way to pick cotton.

However, according to him, Dilkash Khurramov fell when he got off the bus in the Pastdargam district:

“He was in poor health. He slipped when he was getting off the bus. It was just an accident. Now his is in good health, he is receiving treatment in the hospital,” said the representative of the university.

However, when the Ozodlik reporter asked why a student with poor health was sent to pick cotton, the Samarkand State University employee hung up the phone,

Our reporter tried to contact Alisher Ushtayev, the first deputy rector of Samarkand State University, but his secretary stated that the deputy rector was in the cotton fields: “The deputy rector in in the cotton fields. He is conducting classes and also going to pick cotton,” said his secretary.

On September 21, Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov ordered the immediate return students, teachers and medical staff from cotton fields.

This order was made by the government after President Shavkat Mirziyoev announced in a speech to the UN General Assembly that forced labor was over in the country. However, Ozodlik continues to receive messages that forced labor in the cotton harvest is continuing.

However, with the onset of the first cold spell in many regions of Uzbekistan, hokims [district and regional governors] have failed to fulfill their cotton quotas and have again ordered employees of of public organizations and students to pick cotton.