Indian Men Lured to Russia, Forced into Ukraine Conflict, Families Mourn

Indian Men Lured to Russia, Forced into Ukraine Conflict, Families Mourn

NEW DELHI - When Mohammed Asfan, a resident of Hyderabad, India, ventured to Russia enticed by the promise of employment as a "helper" in the army, little did his family anticipate that he would end up embroiled in the conflict in Ukraine, ultimately losing his life there. Asfan's story is not unique; he is one of many Indian men who were allegedly deceived into traveling to Russia with the allure of lucrative job prospects, only to find themselves coerced into military service on the front lines against their will.

According to statements from their families, individuals like Asfan and Hemil Mangukiya from Gujarat were initially drawn by online recruitment videos, which falsely assured them of job opportunities and eventual residency in Russia. Asfan, previously a manager at a clothing store, reportedly contacted his family from the Ukraine border, revealing that his passport had been confiscated, and he was being compelled to fight. Despite his plea for help, he found himself trapped in a situation he couldn't escape.

Similarly, Hemil Mangukiya's family learned of his fate after he was killed in action, realizing too late that the job he had been promised was a facade for military training. The anguish of these families is compounded by the bureaucratic hurdles they face in repatriating their loved ones' remains.

Reports suggest that others have reached out for assistance, claiming they were coerced into military service after arriving in Russia on tourist visas, facing severe consequences if they refused. These cases have prompted India's foreign ministry to intervene, promising to address the plight of those trapped in such circumstances.

Meanwhile, investigations by India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have exposed a network of agents exploiting social media platforms to lure unsuspecting individuals with false promises of employment, particularly targeting vulnerable youth. This revelation follows the tragic deaths of two Indians who fell victim to this scheme.

The CBI has taken action against the perpetrators, conducting raids and seizing incriminating evidence. It has become evident that trafficked individuals were not only misled about the nature of their employment but also subjected to hazardous combat roles without their consent.

In response, India's foreign ministry has acknowledged the issue and is collaborating with Russian authorities to secure the release of Indian nationals ensnared in military service. Furthermore, they have cautioned Indian citizens against involvement in the conflict and urged them to exercise vigilance.

This harrowing saga underscores the dangers of human trafficking and the exploitation of vulnerable individuals, highlighting the need for greater awareness and stringent measures to prevent such exploitation in the future.

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