Kerala Opposition leader flags recruitment of Keralites for war zone jobs in Russia with MEA

Satheesan said he had spoken to the families of at least three youths who were trapped in the war zone. Represetational
| Photo Credit: AP

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan on March 25 voiced concern over the recruitment of Kerala youth for potentially dangerous jobs in the Russia-Ukraine war zone.

In an open letter, Mr Satheesan drew the attention of the Union Minister for External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, to the dubious role played by some local travel agencies in the international racket.

Also read: Indians caught in Russia-Ukraine conflict | The dream chasers who got inducted into a war

Mr Satheesan said he had spoken to the families of at least three youths who were trapped in the war zone.

A travel agency had lured them to Russia for jobs that paid at least ₹2.5 lakhs as a monthly salary.

On reaching the country, their handlers confiscated the youths’ passports and mobile phones and pushed them to the battlefront.

Mr Satheesan said the episode was just the tip of the iceberg. “A larger racket with international connections seemed to be at play, and more impressionable youth could fall prey to its advances,” he said.

In early March, the CBI raided 10 locations in the country to crack down on the suspected racket. Its search targets included a travel agency in Thiruvananthapuram. The CBI reportedly confiscated cash estimated at ₹50 lakhs, laptops, mobile phones and CCTV footage.

On March 22, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan informed Mr Jaisankar that three youths from the coastal village of Anchuthengu in Thiruvananthapuram District were trapped in a strife-torn locality in Russia. He identified them as Tina, Prince and Vineeth.

A travel agency had recruited them for security personnel jobs in Russia. Mr Vijayan said the youth paid the agent a sizeable amount to get the job visa. In Russia, they were given basic security training and pushed to the war zone alongside the country’s military personnel.

Mr Vijayan said Mr Prince was injured in the crossfire and hospitalised. He said the Russian authorities posted Mr Tinu and Mr Vineeth to another locality. Mr Vijayan sought the urgent intervention of Mr Jaishankar to locate the youth and repatriate them back to India.

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