Hyderabad man forced to fight for Russia, loses life

It is unclear when Mohammed Asfan died; he is survived by his wife and two children; he was among a group of youth recruited by a travel agent who promised they would not have to fight on the frontlines

March 06, 2024 05:22 pm | Updated March 07, 2024 02:02 am IST

Mohammed Asfan died while fighting for Russia. Photo: Special Arrangement 

Mohammed Asfan died while fighting for Russia. Photo: Special Arrangement 

Mohammed Asfan, a Hyderabadi man forced to fight for Russia, has died.

Speaking to The Hindu, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaddudin Owaisi, who has been in constant contact with Mohammed Imran, the victim’s brother, said that after several attempts, his family finally received word of Mr. Asfan’s death on Wednesday. “An Indian Embassy staffer confirmed that Asfan passed away,” Mr. Owaisi said. Though information about his death was received on March 6, it is unclear when he died.

The victim, who travelled to Russia in search of a better livelihood, is one of several Indian youths who found themselves fighting on the frontlines against Ukraine. The victim is survived by his wife and two children. 

Agent’s false promises

Mr. Imran, Mr. Asfan’s elder brother, previously recollected that the victim had travelled to Moscow via Chennai and Sharjah. A travel agent, identified through his YouTube channel Baba Vlogs, had assured him that his work would not involve fighting on the frontlines.

Also read: Seven more Indians forced to fight in Russia seek government help

“On November 13, they were made to sign a one-year agreement, which was in Russian, a language he did not know. Believing the agent, he signed the agreement,” Mr. Imran said, adding that it was only later that he realised they would be fighting alongside the Russian armed forces. Despite this development, the travel agent assured the family that Mr. Asfan would not have to fight.

Also read:Indians hired as ‘helpers’ forced to fight in Russia’s war

‘Cheating unemployed youth’

Another youth from Narayanpet in Telangana, Mohammed Sufian, has also been stranded in Russia. His elder brother, Syed Salman, told The Hindu that Mr. Sufian described the situation as “PUBG, but in real life”.

The families of those who were allegedly cheated and trafficked to Russia sought the AIMIM president’s intervention to bring them back. Seeking their return, Mr Owaisi wrote to the Embassy of India in Moscow in a letter dated January 25, 2024. Mr. Owaisi said that it was the travel agents who had taken advantage of the desperation of unemployed youth. “All these young men were cheated. These travel agents should be sent to jail,” he said.

The article has been corrected for a factual error
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