Owaisi urges Jaishankar to rescue Indians ‘forced’ to fight in Russia’s war

AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday urged External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to rescue three Indians who have been allegedly “forced” to fight in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Owaisi quoted a report in The Hindu that said the Indians were allegedly duped by an agent and sent there to work as “Army security helpers”. The three Indians are from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

This is the first time that the presence of Indians fighting alongside the Russian military has been reported in the ongoing war.

“Kindly use your good offices to bring these men back home. Their lives are at risk and their families are justifiably worried,” Owaisi tweeted, tagging Jaishankar.

It has been two years since Russia started its offensive against Ukraine, and around 18 Indians are believed to be stranded along the Russia-Ukraine border.

The matter came to light after the family members of one of the victims, who is from Hyderabad, approached Owaisi. Last month, the Hyderabad MP had written to Jaishankar and the Indian Embassy in Moscow to seek their intervention.

One of the victims, who is in his 20s, told The Hindu that the three of them came to Russia through an agent named Faisal Khan, who runs a You Tube channel titled ‘Baba Vlogs’. The victims were reportedly promised to be posted as helpers.

The victim said they were given training in handling arms and ammunition by the “Russian Army” and forced to fight at gunpoint at Rostov-on-Don along the Russia-Ukraine border.

“We arrived here in November 2023, were made to sign contracts, which said that we are being hired as army security helpers. We were categorically told that we will not be sent to the battlefield and promised Rs 1.95 lakh salary and Rs 50,000 additional bonus per month. Except the Rs 50,000 bonus for two months, I have not received any money,” he told The Hindu.

He further said when he tried to escape, he was caught and “threatened at gunpoint”. However, he managed to flee on January 22 and got admitted to a hospital with frostbite injuries.

The victim further said that repeated pleas to the Indian Embassy in Moscow went unheeded. “I have been turned away several times. I do not have proper documents and have no money, the government is not helping us,” he told The Hindu.

Published By:

Abhishek De

Published On:

Feb 21, 2024

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