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  4. Mortal remains of Indians slain in Russia-Ukraine conflict to be repatriated by March 16-17: MEA

Mortal remains of Indians slain in Russia-Ukraine conflict to be repatriated by March 16-17: MEA

The Ministry of External Affairs previously notified that several Indians were duped to work in the Russian Army and forced to fight in the war. The CBI conducted a massive search operation in several cities in connection with a human trafficking network taking Indians to the warzone.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New Delhi Published on: March 15, 2024 16:01 IST
Russia Ukraine war, Indians killed, MEA
Image Source : AP The Russia-Ukraine war has entered its third year.

New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday said that the mortal remains of the two Indian nationals who died in the Russia-Ukraine war will be brought home and handed over to their respective families by March 16-17 after the paperwork was completed. The Ministry remained in touch with Russian authorities and continued to press for the early discharge of Indians stuck there.

Recently, multiple media reports have emerged claiming that several Indians have been forced to enlist in the Russian Army and participate in the ongoing war in Ukraine. The MEA last week said several Indian nationals have been duped to work in the Russian Army and strong action had been taken against the culprits.

In this regard, the Central Bureau of Investigation conducted a massive search operation in at least seven cities in connection with a human trafficking network taking Indians to the Russia-Ukraine war zone.  Several individuals have been detained during the search and Rs 50 lakh has been seized, they added. They said the agency has found 35 instances in which youngsters were taken to Russia after being lured with false promises of high-paying jobs via social media channels and local contacts and agents.

Indians killed in Russia-Ukraine war

Several media outlets reported that a 23-year-old was killed in a drone attack on the battlefield. According to media reports, the slain youth, Hemil Ashvinbhai Mangukiya, belonged to Gujarat's Surat and was killed in Donetsk close to Russia's border on February 21. 

Later, a 30-year-old man from Hyderabad was also killed in the Ukraine war. Subsequently, the Indian Embassy in Moscow confirmed the killing and extended condolence. The youth was identified as Mohammed Asfan, who belonged to Telangana's capital, Hyderabad.

Jaiswal said the funeral agency has handed the two bodies and the mortal remains would arrive in India by the end of the week. "The paperwork of their mortal remains has been done. The funeral agency, which we have engaged, has handed over the bodies. We are in touch with the family. We are also in touch with the Russian authorities. Hopefully, we will have the mortal remains in India by the end of this week, that is on Sunday or thereabout. So hopefully, on the 16th or 17th, they'll be here and then handed over to the family.," he said.

Investigation into Indians sent to Russia

In a statement, a CBI spokesperson said the trafficked Indian nationals were trained in combat roles and deployed across front bases in the Russia-Ukraine war zone against their wishes, putting their lives in danger. The federal agency has registered an FIR against some visa consultancy firms and agents. It was followed by searches in 13 locations across Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, Ambala, Chandigarh, Madurai and Chennai.

The central probe agency has booked 24x7 RAS Overseas Foundation in Delhi and its director Suyash Mukut, O S D Bros Travels & Visa Services Pvt Ltd in Mumbai and its director Rakesh Pandey, Adventure Visa Services Pvt Ltd in Chandigarh and its director Manjeet Singh, and Baba Vlogs Overseas Recruitment Solutions Pvt Ltd in Dubai and its director Faisal Abdul Mutalib Khan alias Baba. "It has been ascertained that some of the victims also suffered grievous injuries in the war zone," the official said.

Indians forced to fight against their will

According to a report by the Guardian, Mangukiya was under the impression he was going for a secure security job far from the war in Ukraine. However, weeks before his death, he told his family he was instead sent to a month-long military training camp and then taken to the frontlines, where he was made to dig trenches, carry ammunition and operate rifles and machine guns.

Mangukiya’s death has shed light on the fate of dozens – by some estimates, hundreds – of Indians and Nepalese who have ended up on the frontlines of the Russia-Ukraine war against their will, after signing up for roles described as military helpers or security guards. The Nepalese government was forced to ban citizens from working in Russia and Ukraine.

Nearly a week after the Indian government acknowledged that some youths from Telangana, Karnataka and other districts were duped into the Russian Army, another video surfaced on several social media platforms where seven youths from Punjab and Haryana said they were forced to fight in this war.

“We came to visit Russia as tourists for the New Year on December 27. We met an agent who helped us visit different places. Later, the agent offered to take us to Belarus. However, we were not aware we would need a visa for the country. We went to Belarus where we gave money to him, but he demanded more money. He abandoned us on a highway as we didn’t have the money to pay him,” one of the men explained in the video.

(with inputs from agencies)

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