Indian national duped into working as ‘helper’ for Russian Army dies 

Hyderabad: A man from Hyderabad, who was among the Indians “duped” by agents on the promise of jobs and taken to Russia and forced to work as a “helper” for the Russian Army, has died.

The Indian Embassy in Moscow on Wednesday confirmed the death of the man, identified as Mohammed Asfan, adding that they are in touch with the family here.

“We have learnt about the tragic death of an Indian national Shri Mohammed Asfan. We are in touch with the family and Russian authorities. Mission will make efforts to send his mortal remains to India,” Indian embassy in Moscow said in a post on ‘X’.

When contacted, Asfan’s elder brother Imran said the Indian embassy in Moscow on Wednesday informed the family about the 30-year-old’s death.

He requested the Central government to help them get back his brother’s mortal remains.

“We just got to know through the call (informing us about Asfan’s death). We don’t have any other information. His body has to be brought back. We request the central government to get back his body,” Imran said.

According to Imran, Asfan and two other youths from Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, had reached Russia in November last year as they were promised jobs as helpers in Russian government offices by the agents. He said that the last time the family had spoken to Asfan was on December 31, 2023. Asfan worked in a cloth showroom in Hyderabad earlier, his brother said.

Imran said the agents, one of them who has an office in Dubai and runs a vlog and two others from Mumbai, had taken Rs 3 lakh each from the youth.

After reaching Moscow, they were made to sign a document in Russian and they later realised that they were recruited as “helpers” in the Russian army, Imran said.

The youth had also contacted the agents and informed them that they were being trained to use weapons, but the agents again lied to them saying it was a part of the job. But, the youths were subsequently taken to the Russia-Ukraine border, Imran said.

Imran said that when they had contacted the agents recently, they said that Asfan’s agreement was cancelled. He was also informed that Asfan was injured, Imran added.

Meanwhile, AIMIM sources said the party’s chief Asaduddin Owaisi had contacted the Indian embassy in Moscow after Asfan’s family had been repeatedly approaching him in this regard over the past few days.

An official from the Indian embassy in Moscow also confirmed to Owaisi about Asfan’s death, they said.

The family of another youth from Narayanpet in Telangana, Mohammed Sufiyan, had also approached Owaisi after their kin was sent to Russia by the agents on the pretext of job but was allegedly forced to fight on the Russia-Ukraine border.

On February 21, Owaisi had told media persons that family members of Indian youth, including some from Telangana, had met him and informed that their kin were duped by agents on the promise of jobs and taken to Russia, but were allegedly sent to fight on the Russia-Ukraine border.

Owaisi had requested the Union government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to hold talks with the Russian government to bring the youth safely back to India. PTI

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