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Specially-abled youth from Punjab duped into joining the Russian army: Report

Mandeep Kumar and his friends were misled into travelling to Russia and were then exploited and threatened by agents who demanded more money.
Last Updated : 30 June 2024, 17:37 IST

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An Indian man named Mandeep Kumar hailing from Goraya in Punjab's Jalandhar district was allegedly duped into joining the Russian army, The Indian Express reported on Sunday.

Unscrupulous travel agents promised the man safe passage to Italy but he was instead taken to Russia and forced to join the army.

Mandeep Kumar and his friends were misled into travelling to Russia and were then exploited and threatened by agents who demanded more money.

"My brother has a congenital limb (left leg) defect. Mandeep and his friends were misled into travelling to Italy via Armenia but they ended up in Russia instead. They were exploited and threatened by agents demanding more money,” said Jagdeep Kumar, Mandeep's brother.

The family could last contact Mandeep, in March. He was in an army uniform pleading to be rescued and fearing for his life.

"It was extremely distressing for the family when we heard reports that Mandeep and other young Punjabi boys were forcibly recruited into the Russian army for deployment in war-torn Ukraine,” Jagdeep Kumar added.

The Indian Express reported that the family took up the matter with Rajya Sabha member Balbir Singh Seechewal, who raised the issue with the Ministry of External Affairs.

“This is very disturbing when innocent youths are lured by unscrupulous agents. We must caution our youth against falling prey to such traps,” The Indian Express report quoted Seechewal.

Media reports show that this is not the first such case where an Indian youth has been defrauded and coerced into joining the Russian army. A Mint report states that another man was killed in the Russia-Ukraine war in February. Hamil Mangukiya applied for a job online in Russia but when he reached Moscow he was hired as an assistant in the Russian Army. He lost his life in an airstrike conducted by Ukraine in the Donetsk region near the Russia-Ukraine border.

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Published 30 June 2024, 17:37 IST

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