Haryana youth recounts horror in Russia: ‘Used to burn me with cigarettes in jungle’

A Haryana youth who managed to return to India from Russia after being duped with a job offer recounted his horror that started the day he left India last year. The agents that Mukesh got in touch with for jobs outside India told him that he would get a work permit in Germany. But then he was sent to Bangkok and from there to Russia where when the Russian army caught him as he had no legal immigration documents, they asked him to serve in the army or to face jail. In an interview with the news agency ANI, Mukesh claimed there are 250-300 Indians in the Russian Army, all duped by fake job promises.

Haryana’s Mukesh was promised a job in Germany but was then sent to Russia.

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Recounting the ordeal and the ‘donkey’ route to Russia, Mukesh said he left India in September last year with a ticket to Bangkok while the agents told him he got a work permit in Germany. “When I reached Bangkok, they started torturing me. Took money from my family. Then they gave me a ticket to Russia. When I reached Russia, I was beaten up by the donkers (agent/associates of the agent). I was taken to Belarus by the donkers. They used to take me to the jungle to beat me up and burn me with cigarettes. They used to make video calls to my family members to threaten them to extract more money,” Mukesh said.

“I was in the jungle for 16 days without eating anything. I was unconscious. Some friends helped me but at that time the Army caught us. They asked us to serve in the Army or face jail for 10 years. We said we wouldn’t join the Army. We were sent to jail. Then we got bail and were deported,” Mukesh said.

Several Indian youths fell prey to the fraudulent job rackets actively recruiting for the Russian army. India has taken up the issue with Russia seeking early discharge of Indians stuck there. At least two Indians have died on the war front fighting for the Russian Army against Ukraine. The external affairs ministry said 20 Indian nationals serving with the Russian military approached the Indian mission in Moscow seeking help for discharge and several could come back to India after New Delhi pressed the issue with Moscow.

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