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Hyderabad man duped into joining Russia-Ukraine war dies

Reported by:  PTC News Desk  Edited by:  Jasleen Kaur -- March 07th 2024 12:55 PM
Hyderabad man duped into joining Russia-Ukraine war dies

Hyderabad man duped into joining Russia-Ukraine war dies

PTC Web Desk: An Indian national, Mohammed Asfan from Hyderabad, who was deceived into joining Russia's war against Ukraine, has tragically lost his life, as confirmed by the Indian Embassy in Moscow. The embassy, in a statement on Wednesday, acknowledged Mohammed Asfan's death, but did not disclose the cause or the nature of his activities in Russia. The embassy assured that it is coordinating with the family and the Russian authorities to facilitate the repatriation of Asfan's mortal remains to India.

As per the family of Asfan, he was among over 20 Indians who were lured to Russia under the false pretense of lucrative job opportunities. The news of Asfan's death was conveyed to his family by Asaduddin Owaisi, the leader of All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), who had previously brought attention to this issue in February. Owaisi had written to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar expressing concern about youths from various states, including Telangana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh, who were duped and forced into joining the Russia-Ukraine war.

On February 29, the Ministry of External Affairs acknowledged that at least 20 Indians trapped in Russia had reached out to Indian authorities, and efforts were underway to repatriate them. The cases of these youths trapped in Russia are linked to a Dubai-based agent named Faisal Khan, who operates a YouTube channel called 'Baba Vlogs' with over 3 lakh subscribers. In one of his videos, he showed seven passports, claiming collaboration with the Russian army and issuance of work permits for the country.

Abdul Naeem, the father of one of the victims, revealed that his son and three friends, who were working in Dubai, were promised high-paying security guard jobs in Russia by Khan. The agent allegedly collected ₹3 lakh from each of them, took them to Russia in December, and coerced them into participating in the war after deceitfully obtaining their signatures on Russian documents.

These Indian men, some of whom received basic weapons training, were purportedly stationed in Ukrainian cities such as Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Mariupol. Conflicting reports suggest they may be fighting either as part of the Russian Army or the mercenary organisation, Wagner Group. Additionally, seven men from Punjab and Haryana have sought assistance from the Indian government, claiming they were forcefully compelled to join the conflict in Ukraine.

Harsh, a 19-year-old from Haryana's Karnal, explained in a recorded video that he and others were taken to Belarus by an agent and abandoned there when they couldn't provide additional funds. Subsequently, Russian authorities allegedly coerced them into signing documents and forced them into military service for the war against Ukraine.

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